Cheryl Ragsdale – Yes or no, but never maybe

The following is a brief profile of one of the athletes I interviewed for my upcoming book.

Cheryl Ragsdale Working the Matt


While writing my book, I had put together a slide show, showing pictures of the athletes I interviewed, each with the athletes name, age, and location, as well as a quote from the interview. The most common reaction when Cheryl Ragsdale’s slide emerged was, “She can’t be over 50.” She most certainly is, and is a great example of the magic in leading an active life and having a sense of fun. Cheryl Ragsdale is a youthful 51 year old boxer and martial artist who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. At age 46, Cheryl began working out, taking aerobics classes and lifting weights. She enjoyed working out ,but her life was changed one day when, she joined a new gym, her future boxing trainer told her that she had a long reach. Cheryl didn’t understand, so she asked him what he meant. He said, “Hold out your arm, look how long your arm is,” and went onto explain that he operated a boxing gym in town. He invited her to visit and the first time she tried boxing, she lit up. A little over a year ago, Cheryl took up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing, and someday would like to knit the skills from these disciplines together. She loves how martial arts allows her to bring out her girl warrior, and how it has unexpectedly increased her gentleness.

Happy New Decade! yes, not just a new year, but a new decade. What will your life be like when you hit 2020? I plan on being an athlete.


Check Out The Cover Design!

I am feverishly shoring up the copy and editing my new book entitled, “50 Athletes Over 50 Teach Us How to Live a Strong, Healthy Life.” Below is the front cover design.

50 Athletes Over 50 Teach Us How to Live a Strong, Healthy Life

Front Cover of Don McGrath's New Book

This book will not only feature profiles of 50 athletes as well as some featured interviews, but will also summarize observations and lessons that I learned in the interview process and in the process of analyzing the interviews.

I will share how these athletes have successfully transitioned to where the sport they do is not something they do, but is part of who they are. I will also share other key lessons from their more than 2800 years of collective wisdom, allthewhile passing on their inspiring and fun stories.

I also have included written exercises meant to aid the reader in applying the lessons these athletes will teach us, with the hope that this will help more people lead the strong, healthy lives that these athletes lead.

Stay tuned. I hope to have first copies available in March, 2010.

R.S. and Melody Mitchell – Changing hearts, changing minds, changing lives.

The following is a brief profile of people I interviewed for my upcoming book about athletes over 50. Enjoy!

R.S. Relaxing in Hawaii


Melody at the Studio


R.S. and Melody Mitchell, 61 and 54 respectively, live in Salisbury, Maryland and own and operate one of the largest martial arts schools in the country. R.S. learned martial arts from his father when he was very young, and Melody got her start when she was 34 and took a women’s self-defense course from R.S. They have, together, incorporated martial arts into their lifestyle, and are devoted to bringing others the self-esteem, self-control, self-discipline, self-defense; perseverance, respect for others, concentration, and physical fitness that results from studying martial arts. They have taught people from three years old and up, offering classes that help the very young develop coordination and strength, as well as classes that help older student defend themselves with a cane. They shared with me some of the astounding changes they have seen in students with ADHD and students with physical handicaps. They love how martial arts keeps them physically and mentally fit, and that they get to do it together.

I just did an accounting and I only have a few more athletes that I interviewed to post on this blog. I’ll be looking in the New Year to continue to bring content to this blog, even after my book comes out in March. I’d love it if you would leave comments about what you would like to see on this blog in 2010. It is a new decade, and I’m sure we are all excited about it. So, please leave a comment and I’ll get busy!

Some thoughts from Bruce Runnels

Bruce and his wife Katherine


I interviewed Bruce Runnels back in July (, and while I typically email the list of questions to interviewees ahead of the interview, I forgot in his case. The one question that Bruce had a hard time answering, and I would too without time to ponder it, is what his motto is. The following is what Bruce recently wrote to me, now that he has had time to think about it.

“By the way, one of the questions you asked me was whether I followed any particular motto in my training or racing. I believe I told you that generally I don’t have a single motto. Interestingly, your question has caused me to think a good deal about it. I still don’t have a totally original answer, but it seems like my inspiration comes in two forms: “1. show up, and 2. never surrender.” This may seem a bit too trite, but it really does characterize my own personal approach. Showing up is half the challenge, whether it’s showing up for an early morning training session that I may not want to do, or showing up on the start line of a race being more than a little intimidated and anxious about what’s going to happen (or about what I’m supposed to do), or showing up for a weekend group ride in freezing temperatures, or showing up at a team meeting when I’m just meeting everyone for the first time (and wondering whether I’ll be able to do my part), etc. For me, never surrendering is another big part of the challenge. Basically, resist the urge to give up, or give in, when the going gets tough, whether it’s recovering from an injury, pushing the last few yards over a tough climb, or living with the lactic burn in my legs on a hard ride, or staying on another racer’s wheel when I’m feeling at my limit (because I know that the other racer is probably feeling the same thing), or feeling cold to the point of shivering, etc. Some readers might think it’s crazy for someone like me, at age 60, to think about my exercise regimen in these terms, but age is immaterial in my mind. Who’s to say what I’m supposed to think when I’m at age 60. Why can’t I think about these things in the same way that I did when I was 20, or 40. Maybe it’s all too philosophical, but for me it’s part of my drive.”

I have received feedback from others that I interviewed about how the interview process was enjoyable, and made them think and remember things they are fond of. When we think about being interviewed, most of us feel nervous. Through the interviews for this project, I have learned that interviews can be fun, two-way exchanges of information, and when done right, all parties walk away feeling satisfied.

The process of interviewing 50 athletes over 50 has been life changing for me. If there is a subject that you are passionate about and want to immerse yourself in, I encourage you to look into the 50 interviews process. You can find out more at

What an interesting bunch

I thought I’d devote today’s post to show you what a couple of the athletes I interviewed have been up to, beyond their sports.

Terry Peterson, a.k.a. The Unigeezer, is constantly putting out interesting videos. I love them all. This one in particular appeals to me right now, since my brain has been cranking on editing my upcoming book. The latest tentative title for the book is, “50 Athletes Over 50 Teach Us How to Live a Strong, Healthy Life.” This piece shows the transformational change that is possible, in a very humorous way.

Sandy Scott has also been busy. Sandy and his fiance Rosie, have written a book about Sandy’s comeback from fracturing his C1 vertebra, where he has gone on to win multiple Florida State cycling championships, and hopes to shatter records in 2010 as a 70 year old. You can buy their book at

True story; I happen to be talking to Dr. Vonda Wright, who is writing a section in my book, about how I couldn’t get Jack Lalanne to write an endorsement for my book, due to his exclusive agreement with a publisher. Vonda asked me if I had considered Tom Watson. For those who aren’t familiar with Tom, he recently defied age, at nearly 60 years old, to mostly lead and tie the 2009 Open Championship to enter a 4 hole play-off; 26 years after his last major US Open victory.

The day after I talked to Vonda, I was speaking with Karen Hart, who is helping me edit my manuscript, and I was informing her about my call with Vonda. I mentioned Vonda’s comment about Tom Watson, and Karen squealed. She then told me that a family member is best friends with Tom Watson.

I’m not an especially spiritual guy, but I’ll tell you this; this coincidence shocked me. As I thought more about it on my drive home, it re-energized me to double down my efforts on the book. Hey, maybe someone out there really needs the inspiration to change their life.
Whether I connect with Tom Watson or not, this was an eye-opening event, which has fired me up to not only get the book done, but make it as good as it can be. Someone’s life may depend on it.

Katy Okuyama – Dont give up. Just keep plugging at it and you’ll get it.

Katy Going for it at Chuns Reef on the North Shore

The following is a brief profile of one of the athletes I interviewed for my upcoming book, “Lessons for a Strong, Healthy Life from 50 Athletes Over 50.”

Katy Okuyama is a 53 year old surfer who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and who has passion for not just surfing, but food too. Katy’s grandfather and father were both grocers and Katy has carried on the passion for good food that was passed to her, through her work as a natural and organic food broker. While surfing doesn’t go as far back as her family’s passion for food, Katy has been surfing since she was 16 years old. Her older sister and older brother both surfed, and Katy took over her brother’s surf board when he went away to college and was immediately hooked. She tried to give up surfing in college, so that she could focus on her studies, but the ocean’s call got to her, and she returned to surfing. Katy loves the ocean and feels that its ionic effects keep her energized, and she hopes to be surfing when she reaches 90 years old.

I’m very excited about the progress on my book, “Lesson for a Strong, Healthy Life from 50 Athletes Over 50.” I’m in the process of refining and editing, and have enlisted editorial help from my friends Sharon Pearson and Karen Hart. I’m confident that they will help take my ideas and rough hewn writing, and make it an enjoyable read.

I very much feel that the next three months will be a watershed for my book project and my 50-K Active Challenge project. I’ll hopefully have exciting news to report on both fronts in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned and Dream Big!

If you have not entered the 50-k Active Challenge T-shirt photo contest or voted yet, go to

Bob Radocy – Today is the first day of the rest of your life

The following is a brief profile of one of the over 50 athletes that I interviewed for my upcoming book, Lesson for a Strong, Healthy Life from 50 Athletes Over 50.” To get email updates on future profiles, subscribe on this site.

Bob Radocy loves lifting and staying strong


Bob Radocy is a 60 year old archer and skier who lives in Boulder, Colorado, and who runs a company that specializes in creating prosthetics for people who have lost limbs and who want to do a sport or physical activity. Bob has been active his entire life, playing baseball in high school and hunting with his father. In 1971, Bob was in a tragic car accident, where he lost his left arm, just below the elbow. Bob’s background in physical education as well as engineering, enabled him to create a prosthetic for himself that allowed him to re-engage in activities that he enjoyed. He went on to found TRS Inc., which designs and manufactures prosthetics for active people. Bob’s says that he’d rather design a prosthetic to enable someone to run, not walk; to shoot a bow and arrow, not use a knife and fork. His work in designing prosthetics has helped thousands re-engage in activities they love, which include kayaking, lifting, climbing, running, archery, among other activities.

Bob loves being outdoors, whether it’s hiking, running, being on an archery range, or just witnessing a sunrise.  Bob told me that he feels that one measure of the richness of one’s life, is the number of sunrises you see.

A few updates on athletes I’ve interviewed. Sandy Scott will soon receive a Teschner 703 time trial bicycle as part of his sponsorship with Teschner. Sponsorship at 69? Sandy, you rock!

On my trip to New York for Thanksgiving, I read Myrna Haag’s (  new book on nutrition. I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. My wife and I are going to try and adopt some of what Myrna discusses in the book. You can find her book at

Speaking of books; if you are trying to find a good Christmas gift for someone who wants to be active later in life, get them a copy of my first book, “Dream It, Live It, Love It,” which contains 10 interviews with athletes over 50. They are sure to be inspired.

I recently uploaded a 9 minute video to Youtube, featuring some of the athletes I interviewed for my books. I’ve had great feedback on it. If you enjoy it, tell others about it.

I recently wrote a chapter for my book where I discuss what  strong, healthy life is. It became crystal clear to me that being healthy isn’t good enough. Being healthy means being absent of illness. Will you settle for that. Repeat after me…”Hell NO.” Lead a strong, healthy life.