Tag Archives: 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge

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 www.50-k.net.


Murray Honick – Previous 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge Contest Winner

Murray Honeck Running

In September, 2009 I held a drawing for people who joined the 50-k Active Challenge, which is an outgrowth from my work on my book on athletes over 50, and had prizes of a copy of my book, a 50-k “Active Life” T-shirt, and an interview with me. Murray Honick was the lucky winner of the drawing, and the following is what I learned about Murray from our interview.

Murray, who is 55, is a psychiatrist and lives in Murrelles Inlet, South Carolina, and often recommends exercise or physical activities to his patients to help them deal with depression or other disorders. Murray is a strong believer in the transformative power of an active life.

When Murray was younger and in medical school, he participated in volleyball and tennis, but it was a self-described mid-life crisis that kicked Murray’s active life into full gear. He decided that he didn’t want a corvette and couldn’t afford an affair, so he decided to start running! Murray started by running a 10K, and six years later, now has the fantastic goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states.

His goal: 50 marathons in 50 states

His plan: One marathon a month as his schedule allows; has a 17 week training plan and follows it.

How he remains accountable: he has regular partners and runs local races with them

Murray discovered the 50-k Active Challenge through a facebeook running group and told me that he will promote it with his local running club, because he is such a strong believer in the transformative power of an active life.

You can be the next contest winner, where you can win $300 or an iPod, by submitting a photo to the “Active Life” photo contest. The contest closes on December 17th, 2009, so don’t delay. Find out more details at: http://50-k.net/contests

Check out the interesting story about the link between exercise and longevity at http://www.immortalhumans.com/physical-exercise-restrains-aging-and-protects-your-cells/

Sid Howard – If you don’t hold your head up so high in victory, you won’t have to hold your head down so low in defeat

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; Dream It, Live It, Love It.” To see future posts, subscribe on this page.

Sid running the World Master's Championship 1500 meter








Sid Howard is a 70 year old track, cross-country, and road runner who lives in Plainfield, New Jersey. Sid was a talented runner from the start, and excelled in high school track and cross-country until the 11th grade. Sid told me that he also excelled at being the class clown, which led to his not making the grades he needed to stay on the team. He rediscovered running at age 39, when his son told him about a masters mile race being held at a nearby school. Sid was shocked that they had races for people who were done with school, but signed up. He’s been racing ever since and recently won the gold medal for the 1500 meter event at the World Masters Championships in Lahti, Finland.

This week, I’m enjoying a much-needed break from work and visiting my family in my home town, Scotia, New York. Time to reconnect with family and old friends, and remember my roots. It is a great feeling and brings back tons of great memories and emotions. I hope everyone is taking stock this week in all we have to be thankful for.

I’m very excited to see photo contest entries start rolling in for the 50-k Active-Life T-shirt contest. http://www.50-k.net/contests. Don’t delay getting your shirt and submitting your photo, the December 17th deadline for voting will be here before you know it! I’m sure $300 or an iPod would come in handy in time for the holidays.

I’ve had a lot of compliments on my last post about being over the hill. https://50athletesover50.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/50-k-photo-contest-and-what-hill-are-you-over/ I’m glad people have enjoyed it!

50-K Photo contest, and What Hill are You Over?

Terry "Unigeezer" Peterson in his "Active Life" T-shirt

Inspired by the amazing health of the over 50 athletes that I interviewed for “Lesson for a Strong, Healthy Life from 50 Athletes Over 50”, I created the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge to help people live a more active and healthy life. One part of the mission of the 50-k Challenge is to reward people who take the initiative and join the Challenge, so I’m sponsoring a contest where members can win $300 or an iPod by submitting photo’s with their “Active Life” T-shirts, which other members will vote on. You can see more details about the contest at http://50-k.net/contests/my-active-life-t-shirt-contest. Don’t wait, since voting closes December 17th, 2009 at 5pm Mountain time. Be creative and have fun. I can’t wait to see the cool photos you submit.

A few weeks ago I was out for a run and thinking about a comment someone made to me the previous day about being “Over the hill.” I began thinking about what that meant and I got this visual of one long, steady hill that crests and then descends. The more I thought about this as an analogy to life, the more ridiculous it seemed. For me, and all the athletes that I interviewed, life is a 3-D landscape peppered with an incredible and diverse terrain. The thought of a steady climb and decent is ludicrous, for all but the most unfortunate.

I think back on my own life and think of the hills that I’ve climbed, some that I’ve chosen and some that were thrust upon me by pure chance. Examples; when I was 7 years old, my dad died of lung cancer, which was a hill I definitely had not chosen. When I was in high school and enrolled in a training program to become an electrician, budget cuts in the school system caused the 2nd year of the program to be cut, leaving me in a quandary about my future profession. While hills not chosen, these are part of the landscape of my life and have made me who I am today. The loss of my father had a profound impact on how I lead my life, in that I am very aware that life isn’t fair and that it is precious and should be milked for every last ounce of juice every single day. When the electrician’s course I was taking was cancelled, I looked around and saw all my friends were going to college, and figured that I should give that a try. That turn of events has led me on an educational journey that included getting my Ph.D. and now writing a book.

I have also chosen my share of hills. I chose to go to college and graduate school, get married, write a book, climb Washington’s Column in Yosemite, be a competitive runner, change jobs and move to Colorado, get divorced, buy a house, learn to play the banjo, get remarried… you get the idea.

So, next time you hear someone talk about being over the hill, ask them “which hill are you over?”

Enjoy the crazy, unpredictable landscape of your life, embracing the hills you choose and those you don’t. Ride on!

Don Ardell – Difficulty and suffering are prerequisites for fulfillment

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

Don Ardell is a 71 year-old triathlete who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.  In 2009, he won his age group at both the US National Sprint Triathlon Championship in Newport Beach, Virginia, and the World Sprint Triathlon Championship on the Gold Coast of Australia.

Don started his athletic career playing all manner of games growing up in Southwest Philadelphia.  In high school, he ran track and cross-country.  He joined the U.S. Air Force straight out of high school and managed to earn a spot on base and All-Air Force teams for football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball and, of course, track as a miler. Don did anything he could to stay off KP and performing the boring duties of a lowly airman, so that he could attend courses for college credits when not off representing one air base team or another.  Don was observed by a college basketball scout during an air force tournament that led to his eventual matriculation at George Washington University on a full basketball scholarship. Thus, Don “began” his college years as a sophomore with credits accumulated at night during his Air Force years.  This made it possible to take lighter loads while playing varsity basketball, acting in student drama and musical comedy productions, and chasing coeds, one of whom he married. 

After completing graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in urban planning, Don took up competitive handball.  Playing throughout his 30’s, Don  won many titles, including the Minnesota state championship.  Entering his forties, Don discovered road running.  Five years later, and after many marathons, Don moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Orlando to teach at a university and manage a wellness center.  All Don’s new friends seemed to be engaged in the relatively new sport of triathlon, so Don took that up as well.

Don’s introduction to triathlon happened as a consequence of his work.  He was the featured speaker at a hospital wellness conference in Kansas City.  While there, he was asked to do the event as a promotion for his wellness lectures.  On a borrowed bike and with the aid of all kinds of swimming aides just shy of water wings, Don survived the encounter, managing to finish the ordeal almost but not quite last, due to his strong running ability.  But, Don was hooked on the sport and, in time, would learn how to swim properly and ride a bike in a competitive manner.

Don has been involved in the wellness movement since the 1970’s.  He wrote the first popular book that helped to create a wellness movement,“High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease, published by Rodale Press in 1976.  Don has written 15 other books since and delivered hundreds of presentations at hospitals, worksites and conferences throughout the US and sixteen other countries.  His newsletter, the ARDELL WELLNESS REPORT, has been circulated globally since 1984, and over 500 editions have been produced and distributed. 

I’m sponsoring a contest for the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge members that I thought you would be interested in. It is a photo contest for people who have taken the Challenge and has a first place prize of $300 in Target gift cards, while the 2nd place prize is an iPod. All you need to do is be a member, submit a picture with your 50-k “My Active Life” T-shirt in it, and have other members vote for your photo.  If you aren’t a member yet, then go to www.50-k.net and register. If you don’t have a shirt, you can get one at the www.50-k.net store. The contest opens on 11/17/09, but I wanted to give readers of my blog a heads up. If you’re not a member, register and order your shirt today, so you can have the most time to get votes, which close on 12/17/09 at midnight. Go to www.50-k.net on 11/17/09 fo rmore information about the contest.

I also thought that you might find it funny to see how my wife Sylvia and I spent s Snowy Sunday… Climbing in our basement!


More good things happening

don mcgrath Take The Challenge

Don Urging People to Take The 50-K Active/Athlete Challenge

It is beginning to feel like that time of year when the busyness of the holidays rolls in and days fly by quickly. Next thing you know, it will be 2010. A few things are triggering this feeling for me. One is that I’m planning on traveling from my home in Colorado to my home town in upstate New York for Thanksgiving week to visit my extended family. It’s been a number of years since I’ve visited, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to the annual alumni dinner held by my former college (R.I.T.) running coach, Pete Todd. It will be great to see all my old buds.

A second trigger is that I am shooting to go to print in February, 2010 with my next book, “Lessons for a Strong, Healthy Life from 50 Athletes Over 50: Dream It, Live It, love It.” I’ll have a 70% draft ready by December 4th to deliver to a few others who are contributing to the book. On the list to write sections are Dr. Nikola Medic, Dr. Vonda Wright, and Dr. Don Ardell. I’m on-track to maybe slightly ahead of schedule! With the book release getting close, I will soon be starting a campaign to engage the media to help in promotion.

Another trigger is that I just booked the first speaking engagement associated with my 50 athletes over 50 project. On April 2nd, 2010 I will be speaking to The Aspen Club, which is a club organized through the Poudre Valley Health District for people in Northern Colorado over the age of 50.  The Aspen Club has over 13,000 members, so I’m hoping for a good turnout. If you or someone you know is interested in having me speak at an event regarding either the 50 Athletes Over 50 Project or the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge Project (50-k.net), please email me at don@50interviews.com.

In news related to my first book of 10 interviews with over 50 athletes, it is now available on Amazon.com for use with a Kindle, and can be found at http://www.amazon.com/50-Athletes-over-Interviews/dp/B002VLZ04C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257887869&sr=8-1

If you read the book and liked it, please leave a review at the site above, as it will encourage others to read it.

Don Ardell, the best-selling author who I interviewed for my upcoming book and who will be writing the forward, recently shared his experience in coming back from having a major surgery in July, 2009 and winning the Triathlon World Championship in September. Read more at http://www.seekwellness.com/wellness/reports/2009-11-21.htm

For those who don’t know, 52 year old Joan Samuelson (used to be Joan Benoit), who ran the 2009 New York City Marathon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of her Los Angeles Olympic marathon gold medal, set a new NYC marathon record for the 50-54 age group by running 2:49.09. Wow! Read more at


Just Remember: “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” -Samuel Ullman, American writer

Gene GeBauer – An athlete through dance

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; Dream It, Live It, Love It.” If you would like to see future profiles via email as well as get updates on the status of my book, please subscribe on this site.

Gene GeBauer

Gene Happy Tapping

Gene GeBauer is a 75 year old tap dancer who lives in Denver, Colorado and who danced professionally on Broadway in New York City for many years. Gene played basketball in junior high school, but quit the team when he discovered dancing. He’s forever grateful to Mr. Dimmit, the basketball coach, for supporting him in that decision. Gene discovered dancing when his doctor suggested it to Gene’s mother as a way to help his recovery from rheumatic fever. He remembers enjoying the feeling of moving in patterns to rhythm, as well as the excitement of getting to dance with the girls. After his performing career ended, Gene became a dance instructor, which he still does today. This past summer, Gene celebrated his 75th birthday, and past students came from as far away as New York City to celebrate the occasion and show their appreciation to him.

I included a dancer in my interviews with 50 athletes over 50 due to several people asking me whether dancers are athletes. After talking to Gene, it is clear to me that dancers can be considered athletes if they approach dancing the way athletes approach their sports. The physical demands are equal to those of many sports and the health rewards similar. After my book is published early next year, I plan on taking tap dancing lessons because it looks like fun and like something I can do for the rest of my life.

I recently realized that I have not been clear enough in explaining the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge in my writings and websites. There are two points that appear to keep people from joining; they think the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge is just for people over 50 years old and they can’t figure out what is in it for them. On the point concerning being only for people over 50, the Challenge is for ALL AGES. It was initially inspired by interviews with over 50 athletes, but the Challenge is for all ages, since we all can benefit from a more active life. I changed the 50-k.net website to make this point more clear. As for what is in it for those who join, below is what I recently posted on the main page of www.50-k.net.

“I was talking to someone earlier today and I asked if they had joined the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge. Their response to me opened my eyes. They asked me, “why should I?” I’m so close to and enthusiastic about the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge, that this response initially puzzled me. That is, until I looked at this website and realized that I really don’t make the benefits of joining very clear. Once I explained the Challenge to this person, they “got it” and joined. I realized then and their that I will never be able to explain this personally to 50,000 people. In the upcoming weeks I’ll be doubling down on making this message much clearer. This article is a start.

The benefits of joining the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge are two-fold; for yourself, as well as for the good of the nation and the world. By joining the Challenge, you improve your own health, as well as the health and quality of life of many.

First, a couple facts that may surprise and shock you. Over two-thirds of adults over the age of 20 in the United States are overweight, while over one-third are obese. Overweight and obesity are known to contribute to many diseases, so I won’t spend any time on why this is a problem and assume it is obvious. The technical definitions of overweight and obese are hard to grasp, so I hope the following will give you a visual of what this means.

I’m 5 foot, 9 inches tall and weigh 160 pounds. For me to simulate being overweight, I could strap 35 sticks of butter around my waist. Actually only 28 would go around my waist once, and the remaining 7 I would hold in my hands and my mouth I guess. If you are still having trouble getting a visual, if I stacked those 35 sticks of butter on my head, I would stand almost 20 feet tall. Anyway, it’s a lot of butter.

Now to simulate being obese, I would need 169 stick of butter. These would go around my waist 6 times, which would actually be longer than my torso – hard to picture? OK, I figured that 169 stick of butter, if glued or taped on my body would cover nearly 50% of my skin area.

As a side note, since I’m a pretty lean guy, the estimates above may actually be conservative, meaning that it underestimates the amount of butter I would need! Also, none of the over 50 athletes I interviewed for my book, were obese and maybe 1-2 overweight.

Second fact; the average 75 year old in the United States suffers from 3 chronic illnesses and is on 5 prescription medications. To give you a visual, I figure that in a year, they will take enough pills to fill a gallon bucket. In ten years, enough to fill a good sized fish tank. Very few of the athletes that I interviewed for my book, had any chronic illnesses.

The point is, that if you live the average, sedentary life that most of us Americans do, you will carry a lot of butter, and eat a lot of pills. Seriously, the average American is unhealthy, which has an affect on their quality of life and on the quality of life of the country, and maybe the world.

Join the Challenge for YOU: The mission of the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge is to inspire, support, educate, and reward people who want to lead a strong, healthy life by becoming more active. If you want to avoid the unhealthy state of being average, join the Challenge and be spectacular. My vision is that the members of the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge will come to the 50-k.net website to get motivated by its content, interact with a community using the forums and blogs, learn from featured posts and links, and get rewarded through contests and other forms of recognition. The Challenge will also be sponsoring events that members can take part of in person, furthering the support and community.

Join the Challenge for OTHERS: In 1998, the United States spent about $80 billion on obesity related health care. In 2007, we spent over $2 trillion on all forms of health care. Suppose that we all got active and eliminated obesity and also reduced our yearly health care spending by 10%. This would amount to a savings of almost $300 billion a year! Think what we could do with a budget like that to promote health and joy. A hope that I have for the 50-k Active/Athlete Challenge is to get our attention (especially the media) turned to HEALTH REFORM, as opposed to health care reform. If we had more HEALTH REFORM, I believe we would need less health CARE reform.

I will be working to take this message further and strengthen it on this site and in my communications in coming weeks. I’m hoping that those who considered joining before, but wondered what was in it for them, now have a clearer picture and will join the community we are trying to establish.”

I hope that if you like what I’m trying to do with the 50-k Active Challenge, you will not only join, but help me recruit people to a more active life by becoming a foot soldier for the Challenge and ask everyone you know to join. Point them to the 50-k.net website, so they can sign up and view the various slide shows, videos, and posts. I can’t do it alone and I really believe that together, we can make a difference.