Pierre Jean “Buster” Martin told London Marathon officials that he ranked as their oldest ever participant and the oldest marathoner ever, an overripe 101 years of age. He received the usual human interest stories and virtual pats on the back. Old people doin’ it for themselves!
(Did you know I ran the first marathon? I was in Greece on leave from the lines in Normandy and…)
Except the good folks at Guinness’ book division wouldn’t verify the record. Apparently, Buster likes to tell stories. Like about the triplets his virile sperm once created 87 years ago. Except they didn’t. He’s more like 94. Maybe. Didn’t someone scan in his birth certificate when he was born?
His employer, a plumbing firm, made quite the show of sponsoring him for charity and had to issue a quick statement to deflect embarrassment about Grandpa:
“This is not about a world record for us, it’s about an elderly man doing a great thing for charity.”
And you know what? They’re right. Athletic records are about measuring the new perceived limits of the human body and there’s no much difference in human physiology right now between 98 years young (the previous record) and 94 or 101 or however long Pierre has been fibbing to the planet’s residents.
This tyranny of records prevalent in all athletic endeavors can just stop. An old coot completed a very cool feat. No Rosie Ruiz here. He made the whole tour in 10 hours, which is about 14 hours quicker than most of us could manage. Congratulations.
Now tell us about the time President Grover Cleveland advice about the Pullman Strike. (”Pushman back! Tee hee! I’m old! I’ll wear my pants over my head if I want to! Now unzip them so I can sneeze.”)