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Master Athlete Going for the Gold

Discus thrower, 68, to compete in national track and field championships

A few weeks later, Marcus persuaded his wife, Emily, to accompany him to the Massachusetts Senior Games, where he won a bronze medal. "Now I was getting excited."

Then came the Eastern Regional Senior Summer Games in Rhode Island. This time, he came back with a gold medal. "The senior games are very social," Marcus says. "Everybody's more or less your age, men and women, most of them in their 60s and 70s, but you hang around with guys in their 80s and 90s, too, who compete in every kind of sport imaginable. It's amazing to see people 80 years old in running tights sprinting on the track or guys 95 years old with seven gold medals around their necks."

Stepping it up

After competing at the National Senior Olympics, for which contenders must first qualify in state games, and coming in among the top 10, Marcus decided to get serious. He wanted to compete against world-class athletes so he chose this year's USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which draws tough competition from all over the country. "I may actually have a chance this year, though," he says, "because two really great throwers in my 65-to-69 age group both just turned 70 and moved on up" to the next age group.

Meanwhile, between competitions Marcus does not sit around. The entrepreneur and marketing consultant sees no point in retiring — from anything. "I like to have an idea and make it happen," he says. "A group of us, mostly in our 50s and 60s, are trying to start up a new Internet business and find ourselves competing for venture capital money with guys maybe one year out of MIT or Stanford. We're probably the oldest entrepreneurs on earth!

"I don't let age hold me back, whether it's throwing the discus at 68 or starting a new business," Marcus says. "I'm going for it."

You may also like: Walking sticks help boomers stay active. >>

Joan Rattner Heilman is a frequent contributor to the AARP Bulletin.

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