M100 record holder ‘Flying’ Phil Rabinowitz dies at 104
South Africa’s great centenarian sprinter Phil Rabinowitz died Thursday at age 104, local media report. Ironically, what led me to this discovery was a Track & Field News message board posting. It made me chuckle when someone linked to “news” of a new M100 world record over 100 meters. The Daily Times of Pakistan reported: “A 104-year-old South African man has set a new world record for the 100 metre race. Phillip Rabinowitz, from Cape Town, is now officially the worldâ€™s fastest centenarian sprinter. He finished the 100 metres in 30.86 seconds, knocking more than five seconds off the previous best.” Only one problem.
Flying Phil ran his 30.86 four years ago. I suspect that someone at The Daily Times saw this British newspaper feature on Phil and thought: “Wow, a 104-year-old just broke a world record.”
At first I hailed this as news that Phil was still alive. But alas, his death led to the erroneous report of his latest record.
SABC News reported today:
Cape Town’s famous centenarian Philip Rabinowitz has died at the age of 104. Rabinowitz was known for his feats on the athletics front and held a number of records at the time of his death.
Family, friends and fellow athletes gathered at the Jewish cemetery in Pinelands to pay homage to the man who was also known as Flying Phil. He passed away after suffering a mild stroke on Saturday – only a day after a photo session with the international media at his daughter’s factory where he still worked as a bookkeeper.
In 2004 Rabinowitz sprinted into the Guinness Book of World Records, when he broke the 100m record for centenarian sprinting in a time of 30.86 seconds at the Greenpoint stadium.
“He really hit the news when he broke the 100m and 200m, and he loved it. He loved the adoration of everyone,” said his daughter Joyce Kruger. She said her father was proud of himself and that they were also proud of him.
Flying Phil, who also held the 200m world record, was a regular participant in big walks on the Cape Peninsula.
Our condolences to his friends and survivors — as well as the South African masters track community that supported him.
Rest in peace, Phil. You had a great run.