There are more talented, determined, dedicated athletes over the age of 50 that we can possibly interview in a lifetime. So we have created this snapshot section to give you a quick glimpse into the mindsets and activities of this rapidly expanding demographic: the aging athlete. This group is bending the curve of what is possible physically and mentally, and reaping the health rewards that we would more commonly associate with the young.
If you are a 50+ athlete and not sure if you would like to give me permission for a deep dive into your story and DNA, then please consider sending your snapshot to share your passions and interest with our community. How to participate: send one photo along with answers to the same Q&A you see in the other snapshots. My email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep the responses reasonably short and concise.
However, if the story of what drives you to keep training no matter your schedule, your obligations or the weather – is impossible to share in this constrained space – let’s schedule time to chat and schedule a full interview.
Richard & Sandy Elmendorf – cycling skiing, hiking
Photo: One of many cycling adventures around the globe
Recreational Life: Cycling, skiing, hiking. Always try for a 2,000 mile cycling year with a couple of big trips during the year.
Where you call home: Longmont, Colorado
Actual age: Dick – 79, Sandy – 77
Age when I close my eyes:
Dick: 25 (ha!) when I’m dreaming! That is a serious answer though. When I close my eyes, I feel like I can do the things I did at 25.
Sandy: Probably 40. Actually started being much more active at that age and after retirement in my late 50’s. I was an “old” ski bum, lived in Steamboat, worked on the mountain, skied 60-80 days a year: worked in a Ski/Bike shop. Really started cycling seriously very late, but it became a passion. So thankful for all the miles and all the places we’ve seen on a bike. Amazing!
Primary Sport(s) and Frequency: Cycling, 4-5 times per week regularly.
When did you start: Dick – 1971. Sandy – 1989.
In your sports, can you still improve? Dick – I hope so. It does get harder, especially speed. Endurance is still ok. Sandy – you bet. Of course. Consistency is the key.
Will you still be doing this in 20 years? Dick – well, we’ll see. I hope so. That would be a goal for sure! Sandy – Ahhh well at 97…hope so. Dick is always the optimist.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome? Dick – both to have fun and better health. Sandy – Of course. Love the feeling of accomplishment and well being after a good ride.
My overall mental / physical health score:
Dick – mental: 95% (accepting getting old!) Physical: 80% (considering age!)
Sandy – mental: 90%; physical 80% (can’t deny feeling the years)
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years: Dick – slowing down. Sandy – sometimes motivation. Harder to ride on a cold day.
What is your tribe / community: Dick – family, biking / skiing friends. Sandy – family, biking / skiing friends.
Next item on bucket list: Both – bike trip to Belgium (Flanders) and ride the cobbles.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity:
Dick: usually 10 on joy, even if drudgery at the start.
Sandy: usually 9 or 10 for joy. Always happy I’m out there. Always a 10 on a powder day!
John Caliri – obstacle courses, running, beer
Photo: Competing in a Tough Mudder, side by side with son Jonah. Team Chug.
Professional Life: Administrative Director, Fitness, FirstHealth of the Carolinas
Recreational Life: Married with two adult children and one middle schooler. Live a not quite but close to off grid on 85 acres. Fitness primarily through that physical labor and training for specific events.
Where I call home: North Carolina
Actual Age: 54
Age when I close my eyes: I have enjoyed every age and the victories and pain it has brought…. so 54.
Primary Sport(s) & frequency: trail running (2 times per week), Woods hiking (trailess) 2 times per week, Mountain biking 1 time per week, weight training 1 per week, endurance strength – every day (cutting, splitting, and loading firewood, feeding animals, repairing fence, etc…)
When did you begin? Always have been active. My interests change over the years. In youth I swam, wrestled and played football. Served in the USMC infantry and have been doing various physical activities ever since.
In your sport(s) can you improve: Meh. To me it is in the doing, not setting records.
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years: Yes. It may be modified but I will always be moving. When you stop moving… you stop moving.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome: Outcome. It is the preparation for an event and persisting through that I enjoy.
My overall mental/physical health score: My health is strong. My mental health depends on who you ask.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? I have to pace myself in all physical activities. Slow down, lighter weight, more rest breaks during work on the farm.
What is your tribe/community: My family, including my USMC brothers.
Next Item on Bucket List: Currently looking.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: My favorite is what I am engaged in and it changes. I have yet to figure out my training and nutrition well enough to get through a half marathon distance obstacle race ,or a marathon, or 50k without calf cramps. When those cramps hit, it is a mix of drudgery and ferocity to fight to the finish. I love the fight and that is why I put myself in the position to struggle… though I could do without the cramping.
Jeff Dansereau – road & trail running, cycling, car racing
Photo: Trail running in the Rockies
Professional life: Director of Engineering
Recreational Life: Married for 32 years with two adult sons who enjoy many of the same activities I do. In addition to the sports listed, I enjoy playing classical guitar, travel, and working on various car projects.
Home: Front Range of Colorado
Actual age: 59
Age when you close your eyes: For the most part, I don’t feel any different from when I was in my late 20s, but let’s say 35.
Primary sport(s) and frequency: Road/trail running (2-3 times per week), mountaineering(whenever I have time, but at least 10 times per year), road cycling (2 times per week), car racing (Spring/Summer ~5-10 times), skiing (Winters 10-20 times)
When did you start? I’ve been very active since I was a young child. I started skiing at 5, started distance running as a freshman in high school, and began backpacking in the mountains with the Boy Scouts at about 11. Over the years I have tried many other sports including triathlon, soccer, rugby, skydiving, scuba diving, and many more. I love to experience new activities and adventures. I’m sure that more are to come.
In your sport(s), can you still improve? Yes! Especially in mountaineering and car racing.
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years? Yes! I plan to keep going as long as my body allows. I realize that I will have to change some things as I get older, but that is one reason why I choose to do so many different activities.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome? Just an outcome. I participate in these sports because I love to be outside challenging myself and being with like minded people. It allows me to participate, rather than watch. I feel good when I overcome a challenge or obstacle, or reach a goal that I have been pushing to achieve. I also want to be able to participate in these sports with my sons, who also love these challenges.
My overall mental / physical health score: 9 out of 10. I continue to do things that many people never do, let alone people in their late 50s. Happiness is a big part of it. I like the challenges of these sports. I like being around people that also like these sports, regardless of age.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? I am slower. My endurance remains unchanged, but I have slowed a lot since I was 39. I ran my first marathon at 38. I remember doing 13 repeat miles in training with a 3 minute break between them. All were well under 6 minutes. Today, I can run 13 miles without a problem, but I doubt I could do one mile under 7.5 minutes.
Who is your tribe / community? As you can see, I participate in multiple sports. Each has its own community and unique feel. Choosing one, I would say that the trail running group to which I belong is my community. I run for hours with them most Saturdays in the mountains of Colorado to some amazing and beautiful places. We share in the wonder as well as the challenge of running 15+ miles at 10,000 ft, or higher.
Next item on the bucket list? Ascent of Mt. Rainier with my sons: Summer of 2022!
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: 10! I love doing all these activities. As with anything in life, each time you go out, you don’t know what to expect. There are challenges, surprises, even pain sometimes, but that is what makes it exciting and makes me feel alive.
Barb Hammerquist – cycling, running, weightlifting
Photo: Barb in her home gym
Professional Life: My husband will kill me if I say retired, so lets go with ‘not currently working’. Previously was a gym owner (11 years), trainer, instructor and accountant.
Recreational Life: Wife, runner, cyclist, house cleaner. Mom of olders, youngers and Grammie of two.
Where I call home: Wyoming
Actual Age: 56
Age when I close my eyes: Sometimes I don’t know how old I am, maybe 30.
Primary Sport(s) & frequency: Spring/Summer – cycling, Fall/Winter – running. I try to run or cycle 4 – 5 days a week, 1 or 2 days off for projects. Weightlifting when its really cold or really windy. Yoga for active rest.
When did you begin? Started running in 1990, started biking in 2002.
In your sport(s) can you improve: SO MUCH!
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years: That is definitely the plan. I am “all in” until my final breath.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome: Outcome – always! Health is icing.
My overall mental/physical health score: Mental – 8 ½, physical – 7.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? Slower, fatter.
What is your tribe/community: Husband, family and some great friends.
Next Item on Bucket List: Being able to do a hand-stand, and race my bike.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: 10! Love doing it and love how it makes me feel, physically and emotionally, when I’m done.
Melani Hutchins – weight lifting, cycling
Photo: Training w/ Coach Anthony @ Aspire Women’s Fitness – Roswell, GA
Professional life: Business System Analyst
Recreational Life: Aging gracefully with weight lifting and road cycling.
Actual age: 57
Age when you close your eyes: 35
Primary sport(s) and frequency: weightlifting 3x week, road cycling 1x week, spinning 1x week, kickboxing 1x week.
When did you start? weight training @ 26, competitive powerlifting @ 35, spin instructor @ 40, road cycling @ 47
In your sport(s), can you still improve? yes, learning what my body can and can’t do.
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years? Of course, try keeping me out of gym.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome? Started with short-term outcomes, but long-term, overall better health is end goal.
My overall mental / physical health score: Mental: 9. I know what needs to be done. Physical: 9. I’ve had ups and downs. As long as my mental state is good, my physical is good. Taking care of my body, what food I put in my body and making sure I rest when my body needs it.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? Everything on my body hurts!
Who is your tribe / community? My fitness friends, family
Next item on the bucket list? Bike Mallorca Spain, that’s my idea of a vacation.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: Joy – 9. I don’t have a favorite activity, I enjoy them all equally. Drudgery – 5, how my body will feel after any of the activities.
Greg Dearholt – cycling, snowboarding, hiking
Photo: Giddy-up Granddad! Edi spurring grandad Greg along Rowena Crest Trail
Professional Life: After 31 years in various sales positions, recently retired from Precor USA. (recently purchased by Peloton) Great people creating a great culture. I grew tremendously as a person and in my professional life due to my experiences and lessons at Precor.
Recreational Life: Married to an amazing partner Carole with Two Step Sons and 4 energetic and active grandchildren. We live in the Columbia River Gorge where outdoor life is maximized. On any given day we can Alpine or Nordic ski, Road or Mt Bike, Rock Climb, Hike, Backpack, Paddle, Run, Fly Fish. My kids and grandkids are active so it’s a way of life for our extended family. Movement and fitness have been a cornerstone for me and much needed. I’ve had my share of physical, genetic challenges and Fitness has allowed me to age well and stay very active…I have to; my Wife Carole is tireless!! LOL
Where I call home: Oregon
Actual Age: 63
Age when I close my eyes: Same. I’m surrounded by fit people in their 50’s and 60’s and 63 should still be a vital, active age.
Primary Sport(s) & frequency: A bit of an all-rounder: cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, back packing, power & vinyasa flow yoga
When did you start: Loved team sports as a kid and started weight lifting seriously as a Freshman in High School. My Uncle gave me Ken Coopers book on Aerobics back in the 70’s and I began running and cycling then. I always loved the mountains and when I moved to Seattle in 89, I took an 8 week mountaineering class that got me hooked on both traditional & sport rock climbing. It was nearly all I did recreationally for many, many years…
In your sport(s) can you improve: In nearly all these activities, I have room to grow for many years – with the exception of Rock Climbing, which may be hard to get better at than I was in my 30’s when it was a singular focus. Family comes first in our house so it’s tough to focus on a single sport while fitting in the family trips and grandkid outings. I struggle to eat as I should for maximum outcomes…. Important lesson! As we age, diet is so much more relevant for maintaining fitness, ideal weight and improving recovery time. As one of my co-workers Steve Menzel says: “Say no to the good….to say yes to the great.” Less wine and chips in my case.
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years: I fully expect to be Hiking, Cycling, snowboarding and skiing as long as possible. Rock Climbing is a non-impact sport and if done with enjoyment in mind, can be done into the senior years (as long as you don’t fall…LOL)
Is better health your goal or just an outcome: Definitely a quality-of-life question. If you want to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, keep moving, keep fit…and eat better!!! I don’t, and when I get that part of my game together, good things happen.
My overall mental/physical health score: 9 out of 10. I’m incredibly lucky in all aspects of my life. Many hobbies, healthy active people all around our family and friendships circle.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? Arthritis: I had a genetic bone condition (Legg- Calve-Perthes disease) as a 6-year-old with the prognosis of arthritis in my later life. Yup, it’s there all right, but doing all the things we do and staying active has made my arthritis an afterthought, and my outcomes are great. Great lesson…move well and you can stave off many cards dealt your way. Yoga Baby!! (my saving grace) A knee replacement 14 years ago and one scheduled September 30th of this year helps too.
What is your tribe/community: As mentioned, we live in an outdoor mecca…. All our friends have significant interest in outdoor sports. Nearly all of our vacations and trips are planned around outdoor activities. Typical trips: I have a group of friends that have an annual trip to Moab for 4 days of Mt Biking, 2 -week long trips per year to Red Rocks in Nevada for Rock climbing, Tour De Mt Blanc, 2 week Nepal Tibet Trek, Back packaging trips (trying to stay somewhat close to Carole on the trail), Fly fishing trips…..
Next Item on Bucket List: New Zealand Trekking, Fishing, Climbing…2022-2023 covid willing.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: Climbing: The drudgery happens when I let myself get a bit out of shape but I’m 100% always thankful for the effort, with the feeling of cleansing and fulfillment. When in shape, it’s always a joy.
Wendy McPeek – cycling, hiking, snowshoeing
Photo: 2021 Triple Bypass-finishing with a smile
Professional life: Northwest Orient Airline Reservation Sales Agent, Equestrian Instructor + Assist in Barn Management, DuPage Children’s Museum membership services
Recreational Life: raised 2 amazing daughters, dabbling in art making
Home: Northern Colorado
Actual age: 62
Age when you close your eyes: 44
Primary sport(s) and frequency: Road Cycling, as much as possible!
Hiking. Snowshoe during winter months
When did you start? About 5-6yrs old. Steel, blue, Schwinn bike, my window to the world!
In your sport(s), can you still improve? Absolutely! My thought is if you have an open mind and dedication there are no limits to improving.
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years? Yes…that’s my plan! In this day and age the amazing variety of bicycles allows you to pedal, no matter what situation you may be in.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome? For me it is all encompassing.
My overall mental / physical health score: Generally about an 8-9 mentally. Biking/exercise helps keeps me in balance. Physically, it has been a journey. I have been very low on the scale…say 1. Having struggled from a serious injury, it taught me to be resourceful and experiment with PT, Chiropractics, acupuncture, dry needling, stretching, and weights, to help me be able do what I love. With that fortitude, I have gotten to a level I never thought I could attain.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? Losing muscle, strength.
Who is your tribe / community? Family, friends, trainer
Next item on the bucket list? Waiting on a new titanium travel/gravel bike build. Looking forward to doing some traveling adventures on my new ride!
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: It’s a journey of Joy and snippets of Drudgery on most every ride. But it always ends in Joy…the sense of accomplishment is the best feeling!
Duane Pedersen – cycling, backpacking
Photo: Climbing the Middle Sister in Canmore, Alberta
Professional Life: Physical Therapist
Where I call home: Northern Colorado
Recreational Life: cycling, backpacking, snowshoeing, photography
Actual Age: 54
Age when I close my eyes: late 30’s / early 40’s
Primary Sport(s) & frequency: road cycling 2-3x/week, gravel cycling 1x/week
When did you start: childhood tricycle and kept going
In your sport(s) can you improve: yes – there is always room to get better
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years: I certainly hope so!
Is better health your goal or just an outcome: yes and yes – I enjoy being active and I want to do what I can to maintain my health – you know the saying “add life to your years”.
My overall mental/physical health score: mental A-/physical B+ arthritic neck and hands (always room for improvement)
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? angry arthritic neck
What is your tribe/community: family, friends/activity buds, co-workers
Next Item on Bucket List: ride a few more Colorado passes
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: 9, even when I am struggling to hang on to someone’s wheel
David Archer – Cycling
Photo caption: “Espresso and a pastry” for a full European cafe ride. David is the smiling Brit on the right.
Professional life: Biomedical Researcher Recreational life: Cyclist, hiker
Home: Roswell, GA by way of England
Actual age: 59
Age when you close your eyes: mid-30’s
Primary sport(s) and frequency: Road cycling, 4x per week
When did you start? Rode to school on my bike and never stopped.
In your sport(s), can you still improve? Yes…?
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years? Definitely, but there’s an e-bike in my future.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome? A great side effect, and allows my DD carbo loading. (Dunkin Donut)
My overall mental / physical health score: Physical: A / Mental: A (especially for that guy in his mid-30’s)
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? Those knees and shoulders are not what they used to be
Who is your tribe / community? Family, friends, cyclists
Next item on the bucket list? 6-Gap Century, always a painful affair.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: 8+, especially my early morning rides.
Bill Bartlett – cycling & running
Photo: Bill is on the left – in yellow. Enjoying his first RedBull ever.
Professional Life: Western Regional Manager – Freemotion Fitness
Recreational Life: Cyclist, Runner, Cycling Ride Leader and Indoor Instructor, Rock Guitarist
Actual Age: 56
Age when I close my eyes: 25
Primary Sport(s) & frequency: Road Cycling 3-4x per week (depending on travel), Running 2-3 times per week, strength training 4x per week
When did you start: competitively 2003 (I had been teaching Spinning since 1999, attended a presentation by triathlon coach and got hooked). Ironman Wisconsin Finisher – 2005.
In your sport(s) can you improve: Absolutely
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years: Definitely. I coach a world renowned brain surgeon who did Ironman in his mid-70’s.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome: Better health is my primary goal, but due to heavy travel, it helps to be fit for long days.
My overall mental/physical health score: Physical A/Mental B (Need to take a little more time focusing on mental.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? I need to warm up longer, and stretch, do more yoga.
What is your tribe/community: Family, Vision Quest Coaching ~Cycling community, friends I have made teaching indoor cycling who are now my friends and former co-workers
Next Item on Bucket List: LOTOJA – 200 mile ride Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: 9, nothing like rolling on two wheels and feeling the wind and speed
Mike Caruso – bodybuilding
Photo: Mike competing at 2010 Nationals in the Master’s class
Professional Life: US President for WeBuyGymEquipment.com
Recreational Life: weightlifting, physique competition, supplement formulation, spending time with my wife and my two children.
Actual Age: 60
Age when you close my eyes: 70…lol, let’s go with 50
Accomplishments in the sport: 2010, 2011 NABBA Master’s Mr. Universe, 1st Place
Primary Sport(s) & frequency: Weight training and baseball. Played ball in college and more recently on an over 50 league.
When did you start: I started bodybuilding at 16 and won my first competition at 19.
In your sport(s) can you improve: Yes its all about knowledge of nutrition and understanding the body’s functions.
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years: I hope so, but taking 5 years at a time, first goal is to keep training at 65.
Is better health your goal or just an outcome: It was first just an outcome then as I aged it became all about health and longevity. My greatest joy was not competing or winning, it was passing on the knowledge of nutrition to help the longevity and quality of life for the people I meet through life.
My overall mental/physical health score: Mental 10, Physical 7. One of the downfalls of training for 44 years is the abuse to the body. I have deterioration in spine, had a meniscus removed from knee and will soon need shoulder replacement in both shoulders.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years? Up until 56, I was ok on the injuries, it was from that point on they really hit, so the challenge is to keep eating healthy and training in pain, but I get up every morning and just do it, because I would be worse if I didn’t.
What is your tribe/community: My beautiful wife Gina, my amazing daughter Mikayla and my close circle of friends.
Next Item on Bucket List: Hmm just to stay healthy, so I can be there for the people who need me.
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: It’s a double edge sword. I could have stayed in a gym for half the day years ago, but the pain of the injuries take some of the wind out of the joy/passion, but I still love it. Joy/Passion is an 8, drudgery is a 5 – only due to the injuries.
Mr/Mrs 50+ Athlete
Photo: YOU showing off in sport or favorite activity
Professional Life: unless you are a pro athlete?
Recreational Life: or….how you spend your paycheck…
Where you call home: not your street address! just your city or area, such as “northern colorado”
Age when I close my eyes:
Primary Sport(s) & frequency:
When did you start?
In your sport(s) can you improve?
Will you still be doing this activity in 20 years?
Is better health your goal or just an outcome?
My overall mental/physical health score: it’s ok to brag, grade yourself based on the health of the average age of your demographic.
Single biggest physical change over the last 20 years?
What is your tribe/community?
Next Item on Bucket List:
From 1-10, score your “Joy to Drudgery” feeling during your favorite activity: how do you feel in the moment? Or, after your workout, ride, run, hike, skiing, etc.
Share your snapshot and tell your story! I’m easy to reach: email@example.com