Touching base with Tor Aanensen: Inner athlete ‘alive and well’

Professor Stephen Seiler (from Texas)

On Christmas Eve, I posted a 1996 story about Norwegian distance runner Tor Aanensen. A few days later, author Stephen Seiler found Tor’s phone number and called him. Here’s the report: “He is 73 years old now. We had a nice conversation and he is obviously both clear in his head and still fit physically. But in his own words, ‘There is a time and place for everything,’ and he no longer is driven to compete or fly around to different road races.  He still runs 3-4 times a week.  He still enjoys interval training, such as 400-meter repeats.  He still does hill sessions. But he is not running daily, or doing the long 20K and 30K runs on asphalt, preferring to do most of his running in the forest, with an occasional 10K run on asphalt.  He also does strength training at a local fitness center [two] times a week, performing a circuit of 8 exercises. If the weather is bad and there is snow on the ground, he might run on a treadmill for 40 minutes instead of outside.”

Stephen’s talk on Tor continues: 

Tor said that even though he no longer competes, he still feels the urge when he is driving and comes to a long hill.  He will think to himself “hmmm, this would be a good hill for a climbing session.”  He said that at age 73, there are so few local and national runners in his age group that the racing had become “a little boring.”   But he was quick to add: “But I still love to run.”
I asked him if he was still pain-free and healthy and he said immediately while laughing: “I have more problems with my head than my body.” He calls himself lucky because his body is still quite healthy, with no hip or knee problems. 

Tor is built for running, remaining quite light and lean,  and I think his injury free running longevity is partly a result of that. His concessions to age are longer warmups, less training on asphalt, and an admission that he does not have the same leg speed anymore.  So he concentrates on short intervals and strength training to try to maintain some speed.
I asked him, “if someone pressed you for an estimate of your 10K speed these days, what would you say?”  He said, “I am good for between 40 and 46 [minutes] for 10K right now.  I have plans to run a 10K in Germany in March, so we will see.”
So that is an update on Tor Aanensen from here in Kristiansand, Norway.  He is not as outwardly competitive as before, but I can hear in his voice that the athlete inside him is alive and well.
Stephen Seiler PhD FASCM
Professor and Dean
Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences
University of Agder
Kristiansand, Norway

If Tor can run a 40-minute 10K, Tor would be world-class in the M70 age group and in spitting distance of M75 records. Canada’s Ed Whitlock holds the M70 WR of 38:04.13 and the M75 WR of 39:25.16.

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January 13, 2014

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