Have you discovered running later in life but still managed to become speedy?


Im approaching 40 and have only really got into running in the last 2 years.  Im gradually getting faster which im very pleased with.

What ive noticed is that it seems like all the fast older runners in the club i run with were sporty and runners when they were younger ie teenagers.  They then had some time out in their 20s and have come back to running in their 30s or 40s.  Their bodies must have some kind of muscle memory because they find it easier to get very fast again.

I didnt do sport as a child, im still scarred by memories of being picked last in PE!image

Just wondering if there are any stories out there of people who found running later in life and started out doing a half marathon in 2 hours but have managed to get their time down to say sub 1h40m ?




  • depends on what you consider later in life, I started again at 30 after gaining a lot of weight after leaving the military and quitting smoking etc etc a few years before, so i guess i was active in my teenage years/early 20's but had not been for 7/8 years, 

    Started running and 6 months in ran a 2:27 HM, now i'm averaging 1:45 after 4 years. I really cant see me getting much faster, a 1:40 is my ultimate goal once ive done a few other longer distance targets 1st,

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I didn't start especially late in life (late 20s) but was not sporty at all in school, so think it's funny that I now count as insanely athletic amongst my friends and colleagues. I ran short distances for fitness from about age 26 and then did my first race (a half marathon) at 29, when I realised that actually I was quite good at it, so started to take it more seriously. So that sort of fits your criteria, in that any kind of sporting talent was completely unexpected. But I was always quite energetic. And I now kind of regret not being sportier as a child because I'd probably be properly good instead of only averagely good.

  • There are lots of very very talented runners who started in their thirties.  Two I know of are Jason Cherriman and Steve Way.  Just train wisely and don't bombard body with too much, too soon.  Patience is key.  

    Literatin - lying bitch.  You told me you were 25... image

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    HeOw, no no I would have claimed to be 35 so you'd be more impressed with my times thinking I was a vet...

  • David - you and I are dreaming of the same HM PB.  Let's go fucking do it.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Let's totally do it. I will pace you both and yell obscenities at you to make you speed up.

  • Why is that funny? It happens to a lot of us!
  • Graham LGraham L ✭✭✭

    I started running at 59 and three years later ran a HM in 1 hr 38 mins. It's never too late, especially if you're not yet 40 like the OP.


  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    I saw on facebook a guy of 60 did a half marathon of 1hr 11 the other week.

    A terrific time at any age, but surely you'd only have the what ifs about starting 40-45 years earlier. Could have been one of the best surely!

  • I was offering sex DF but that sounds good too. 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I think 'running up that big stair thingy' was a euphemism to get past the moderators, HeOw.

  • My running began 8 years ago when I turned 50- was an absolute beginner, and I've gradually run longer,stronger and a bit faster. First HM was 2.27 and last weeks Bath Half was 1.59.24. Having a go at London Marathon next month, so I say it's never too late to catch the bug!
  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    I started 3 years ago at 42. Mid life crisis maybe or just realised I was fat and unfit.

    Now 45 recent times for 10k/hm/m are 40min/1:29 and 3:13 . If you believe you will never achieve this or that time you've lost the battle before you step out the door. Well to an extent, I don't think I will ever do 1:10 for a half but that is because I don't want to enough to do the training. Next years goal is sub 3 marathon.
  • Also-ranAlso-ran ✭✭✭
    Started last year at age 42, having been sedentary for past 25 years. Currently managing to run 1.21.xx halfs, and sub 3 marathon. There are loads of faster 40 somethings than me who have been running for years. One advantage is in having 'young' running legs, so I hope to close the gap over the next few years. It's never too late to compete against your age group.
  • roebyroeby ✭✭✭

    Absolutely possible, I have a lovely female friend in her 60.s now, who only took up serious running in her 40,s , she is an inspiration to me and has PB,s under her belt, for 2 hrs 51 for MAR, 1 hr 38 for half......what an inspiration for a female runner like me image

  • I started running seriously two years ago at 41 doing my first race, a 10k in May 11. I think I did it in about 43 minutes. I had been reasonably fit in my thirties, going to the gym 2-4 times a week doing a mixture of weights and cardio, but only the occasional run on the treadmill. I had been very fit in my 20s doing various martial arts but had slowed down a bit after marrying at 31.

    Did my first half in September 11 in 1.33 and have generally got faster from there. I think I have a bit of an advantage over most late starters in that I have always been a bio mechanically efficient runner. When I first ran at school trainers were banned and we had to use plimsolls. Hence I have always ran on my forefoot.

    Thus if you run efficiently then you can be one of the faster middle age runners, easily doing a half in under 1 40.
  • David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

    I know theres a 1:40 in you Marc S ....... what you need to do is set a goal:

    Dec 31st 2013 - you'll have registered a 1:39:59

    (actually that would be my goal!)




    You know i've backed off from trying to get faster and been concentrating on distance for the past 8 months, but after signing up for a 10k (just because i love the race) i decided to go out and run 10k as hard and as fast as i could, just to see what speed I might have lost over the past 8 months since that race, and on open roads and with no race to pull me along, i hit stop on my garmin only 2 seconds shy of my 10k PB, on race day that would have been a PB. so perhaps you're right, i'm not sure dec 31st is in range, i have some other goals for a race in FEB, but perhaps by next summer. 



    David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

    I find it funny that Marc used to be a green beret then became all fat and pudgy lol!


    I was never "fat", but i did gain a lot of weight all over, trained the wrong way, no cardio, just got heavy and bulky (think large rugby player build) eatin too much of the wrong things and burning off too little, 
    happens a lot actually, when you're used to eating 4000 cals a day and then you dont have the discipline and routine to make you exercise, (i also became a full time dad bringing up my son on my own pretty much so very little time to exercise) its easy to gain. I found it very easy to lose again though.

  • Whilst I wouldn't describe myself as speedy, I've seen considerable improvement in my times since starting running last year at the age of 38.

    At school I used to enjoy a lot of hillwalking and rock climbing, but wasn't that interested in the traditional school sports.  Then I spent my twenties 'avin it' as I think they used ot say back then.

    Took up martial arts at around the age of thirty and trained quite hard for about 8 years, but packed that in with the arrival of kids and the realisation that despite the training and the black belts I wasn't actually very good at it and I was unlikely to get nay better.

    So, took up running at 38 and finding it very satisfying. I'm not going to win any races, but unlike martial arts, I'm not going to lose either.  So as long as I can keep the injuries at bay then I think I'll be happy.

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    Started late 30s...firstly just jogging on a treadmill...then entered 10k....then another and slowly got more into it. Now in early 40s got a sub 3 marathon last year.

    Most of my 20s and early 30s I was wasted. Never that good at sports at school, although tried!

  • GoldeagleGoldeagle ✭✭✭

    I'd done a couple of (slow) Marathons but didn't race my first half until 2004 at Silverstone when aged 54 I ran 1:58. A week yesterday I ran the Bath Half in 1:36:41. I think having come to running relatively late in life has meant there's been a lot of room for improvement so there's definite hope there for anyone new to running.

  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    i had 20 years away from running until 18months ago when i got fed up of saying i used be a decent runner as a kid and there was one too many replies of "sure you were" and "werent we all" so i joined a running club aged 38 and they trained me up.  I hit a 15.57 in my first raced 5k and have a 32.59 10k. 

    in fairness i played hockey for 15years so i still had some fitness but had been retired 5yrs before returning to running and had balloned upto 14st so i was far from ideal.  i agree with AlsoRan that im hoping although im old, my race legs are relatively "young" so hopefully any speed can hang around a year or two. 

    i think there is something in the training we do...some will just try to get fit and run lots of long miles, i had it drummed into me in the club to do sessions like 20*200m too.  Im sure that has helped

    there is also a lady where i work who wasnt particularly sporty and decided to run a marathon in her 40's, she was suprisingly good and after 2 yrs ran a sub 3hr.

  • Very inspirational, thanks image

    Its amazing what our bodies are capable of even when we are past our 'peak'.

    I can relate to pp, I wasnt sporty at school and I wish i had been.  I think a combination of being a bit lazy and cr*ppy pe teachers who only encouraged the ones that were already 'winners' were to blame.  I finished 9th female at my park run this week, ive knocked 3 mins off my time since i first ran it 2 years ago.  Its a slow process.

    Im also sport mad now, i work out 5-6 days a week and i love every minute.  My friends think im superwoman lol.

    Cant wait for Reading HM next weekend, am hoping for a sub 1:50, a new pb.  When i started running i didnt realise it would take so long to get faster but in a way its nice as its great to see the gradual pb's every month.  I love always having a goal and as soon as ive reached it theres a new one appeared! 

  • Started two years ago at 43 when my exercise bike broke. Did my first 10k race a year later (47:47) and last weekend managed a new PB of 44:17 so did the distance in under my age which was a good feeling. Just one half to date last June (1:40:34) and hoping to improve on that in four weeks time. Don't think that makes me particularly speedy but it's a good feeling considering that four or five years ago I wouldn't have been able to run a mile.
  • Fiona Matheson started running at 42, she's achieved various world record times for her age group, her 5K time is 16.50, 10k 34.44. She's in her early 50s now and ran 1500 in 4.48.70 last month, wow! 

  • I was smoking this time last year upto 40 roll ups a day gave up in April. I'm 37 male and upto my early 30,s had never exercised. Took up running about 6 or 7 months ago and found I was quite fast. Got an half marathon on April the 24 and I expect to run it in 120 to 127. I've ran a training run of 29.5 miles in 3hr22 so I've found I have speed has well of endurance. So in a couple of years where could I be hopefully a very good club runner. That long run is because I'm training for an ultra marathon. Today ran to work 5 miles in 33:23 avg6:40 then ran home 32:32 avg6:30. Each month getting stronger and faster. Only regret is I smoked and was a coach potatoe for most of my life.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Stevie G . wrote (see)

    I saw on facebook a guy of 60 did a half marathon of 1hr 11 the other week.

    A terrific time at any age, but surely you'd only have the what ifs about starting 40-45 years earlier. Could have been one of the best surely!


    I think it's Noakes who has done an analysis of age-group record holders, and it appears that generally it is people who have started training seriously later in life, who are peaking when they hit the records, rather than elite athletes who are hanging around and still running relatively well.  So if the 60 year old had been a serious athlete when he was in his 20s/30s, he would have been running HMs quicker than 1hr 11, but wouldn't necessarily be up there with the best... but who knows?

    G Bass - I started training seriously about six years ago, aged 34.  Having now hit 40 I'm still running PBs - HM 72:19 and 10k 33:06 this year.  Train consistently and avoid injury (good luck!) and you could have years of improvement ahead of you. 

Sign In or Register to comment.