Hidekichi Miyazaki was crying as he sprinted down the track earlier this week, not because he was in pain, but because he was going so slowly. The runner had hoped to beat his personal record of 34.10 seconds for the 100 meters. It was a record he set when he was 103 years old. Now, at aged 105, Miyazaki missed his shot at breaking his personal record, but he did earn a nod from the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the oldest competitive sprinter in history.
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"I'm not happy with the time," Miyazaki told reporters after the event. "I started shedding tears during the race because I was going so slowly," he added. "Perhaps I'm getting old!"
Perhaps. But I think most would agree that competitive sprinting — at any age — is not a sport for the faint of heart. And Miyazaki's heart certainly is not faint. Miyazaki told reporters that his doctors are constantly amazed at his exceptionally good health.
"My brain might not be the sharpest but physically I'm tip-top. I've never had any health problems," he noted.
Miyazaki attributed his solid health to daily exercise, moderation in food consumption, and chewing his food properly.
And while it wasn't his best time, his 42.22 second sprint allowed him to put that good health to the test. And it landed him a spot in the record books.
Known in Japan as the "Golden Bolt" for his tendency to imitate Jamaican Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt's famous lightning bolt pose, Miyazaki did not even start running until he was 90 years old. He told the Guinness folks that he took up the sport after all of his board game-playing friends passed away.
When asked what he thought about Bolt's incredible performance at last month's World' Track Championships in Beijing, Miyazaki insisted he wouldn't be impressed until the Jamaican ran against him.
"He hasn't raced me yet! I would still love to compete against him," he added.