Bob Lida: Honoring M80 as Masters AoY ‘bodes well for the future’

M80 Bob Lida, my fellow Jayhawk, is not only a stellar sprinter but also a top-notch wit. I wrote him for reaction to his second USATF Masters Athlete of the Year award, and he had some clever replies. Asked for his advice, he said: “As you get older, pay attention to muscle mass; somewhere along the line it wants to disappear.” Bob was the subject of a New York Times squib five years ago. “Lida was the Big Eight champion in the indoor 440-yard dash in 1959. Then a problem with his sciatic nerve forced him to quit track; he thought he was washed up at 22 and turned his attention to a career in advertising.” Lots has changed, but he’s still fighting niggling injuries. In fact, he says: “When people ask how long I’ve been running, I jokingly tell them 65 years, but 20 of them have been in rehab.” Here’s a video from two years ago. He hasn’t slowed much.

Here’s my quickie Q&A with ever-gracious Bob:

Masterstrack.com: How and when did you hear of the AoY award?

Bob Lida: First read about it on Facebook. Rob D’Avellar was kind enough to post the Information, along with pictures of Kathy and myself from Daegu.

I then checked your blog and got the details.

Have you yet heard about whether the WMA regional body has nominated you for world Masters Athlete of the Year?

Haven’t heard anything official.

What does this AoY award from MTF Committee mean to you?

Quite a lot, especially as I get older. There’s no question beating the age grade curve gets tougher as you get older. I think it’s healthy for Masters Track to have older age groups represented in the top awards. Bodes well for the future.

Have you won this particular award in the past? Which years?

Won it 5 years ago at the tender age of 75. That was the year I also won the WMA award.

What performance are you most proud of this year?

My 29.15-second 200 meter in Daegu was probably my best official race of the year. But my best performance was probably anchoring the 75-79 4×200 relay. We almost won. They caught my time at 28.7.

What meets are you focusing on in 2018? Which track events?

Both the national indoor and outdoor, and the World Championships in Malaga, Spain. I’ll run all the sprints, but would like to concentrate on the 400 meter to see if I can still run under 70 seconds. Came close last year with absolutely no long sprint training.

You’ve been a high performer for a long time. What are the keys to avoiding injury or staying fit?

Running well means training hard. And training hard as you get older usually means more injuries.

Don’t think I’ve done a good job of avoiding injury over the years, but do believe I’ve have been tenacious coming back from them. When people ask how long I’ve been running, I jokingly tell them 65-years, but 20 of them have been in rehab.

What’s your advice for novice runners in masters track?

Stay at it. Do something everyday. As you age you can lose your conditioning very quickly. And, as you get older pay attention to muscle mass, somewhere along the line it wants to disappear.

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December 6, 2017

2 Responses

  1. Peter L. Taylor - December 6, 2017

    Bob Lida has been a true superstar over the years, and it has been my privilege to announce him. He runs young, he runs fast, and he even looks young. This last quality is especially important to me as I advance through the M70 division.

    I was just looking at some biographical materials on our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, perhaps the first president to extol the virtues of exercise. Or was there an earlier one?

    Regardless, I reviewed many of Roosevelt’s photos, and I must say that Bob Lida looks younger now than Roosevelt did in many of them. Oh, Roosevelt passed away at the age of 60 years, 2 months, and 10 days.

  2. Ken Stone - December 16, 2017

    Now he’s December Athlete of the Month on Senior Games site: http://nsga.com/news/2016-04-20-13-53-19/athleteofthemonth/the-long-and-short-of-bob-lida-athlete-of-the-month-december-2017

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