While watching the elite runners vie for the spot on the podium at any race is always impressive and exciting, it can be equally inspiring to watch runners further back in the pack accomplish impressive feats in their own right.
The Penn Relays is one of the biggest track and field competitions in the United States, and is always a great event to watch amazing races.
High school, collegiate, open, and masters athletes take to the track in one of the most high-caliber annual track and field races.
This year was the 127th Penn Relays. The event was held on April 27-29, 2023 at its usual location in Philadelphia, PA.
Despite the dreary, rainy conditions, spectators had the opportunity to watch many nail-biting finishes and impressive performances.
Among the most memorable events, 2023 Penn Relays spectators had the opportunity to watch 96-year-old runner Ed Cox test his leg speed, as he took on the 100m dash.
Cox’s 100-meter dash time earned him a fifth-place finish in the Master’s Men’s 100-meter (85+) event.
Just four years shy of being a centenarian, Ed Cox ran the 100m sprint in just 24.04 seconds, making him the oldest runner to take the track.
In fact, he was the only nonagenarian in the event.
For competing against some runners 11 years his junior, this is a remarkable finish and an awe-inspiring feat for younger everyday runners who can only hope that they still have the energy and fitness to run at age 96.
The winner of the event was 86-year-old Bob Williamson of the Potomac Valley Track Club, who sprinted down the track, finishing the 100-meter dash in a mere 17.5 seconds.
Ed Cox reported that this was his 14th time running the 100-meter dash. However, he noted that he does feel the effects of his age on his running.
In an interview with CBS News after the race, Cox said, “The stride gets shorter and shorter year after year. It’s quite a task, but I enjoy it.”
Ed Cox grew up during the Great Depression when automobiles were scarce.
This spurred him to do most of his commuting from point A to point B on foot, so fitness and physical activity have long been a part of his life.
Overall, it was an inspiring, feel-good event that likely left every runner thinking, “I hope I can still run like that when I’m 96!”
You can see 96-year-old Ed Cox run the 100-meter dash and reflect on his race here.
To learn more about how age affects running performance, check out our article here.