METHUSALAH’S MAD DASH by Peter Nolan Smith

Last year I read that senior athletes competed against each other in a variety of track and field events. I had to ask myself, “Could I beat a 90 year-old in the 100-meter dash?”

The current record by a 95 year-old was 22 seconds.

In Brooklyn I talked my friend AP into officiating my race against age. He had a stop watch and we walked over to the local track and paced out 100 meters.

“You know that you have a thirty-year advantage on 90 year-olds.” AP was younger than me by ten years, but he had refused my challenge to a race. He had a bad knee.

“I have to start somewhere.”

I leaned forward in a racing crouch imitating Tommie Smith, who was my favorite runner in the 60s. He won a gold medal for the 400 meters at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. This race was infamous for his black power salute on the medal podium. The sprinter had to be about in his late 60s, but I was racing a clock and not my hero.

AP shouted at the end of the track.

“Ready, set, go.”

I dashed from the starting line. My legs felt like they belonged to another person. They wouldn’t go any faster.

I counted the seconds. 50 yards in 8 seconds. 75 in 15. 100 in 20.

I cross the finish and AP checked the watch.

“21 seconds.”

“Damn, I did it.” I had beaten the best of the 90 year-olds.

Next stop was against the 80 year-olds and for this contest I will train like a motherfucker, because some of those old geezers cheat with steroids. I will use none and no asterisks will mar my bio or race record, for
I’m as pure as the wind-driven slush.

Which is pretty good for a 60 year-old man.

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