While his quarterback is out slinging erection pills these days, ex-Bears wide receiver Willie Gault is still doing what he always did best â€” running. And he’s running really fast. Faster than most of us could ever dream, and he’s 48 years old.
Gault recently clocked a 10.80 in the 100-meter dash, and he holds the world record for runners over the age of 45 (a 10.72 in 2006). This is only about .7 seconds slower than he ran the 100 back when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 1980 (the year the Americans didn’t show up in Moscow). Most ex-NFLers this age can barely get out of bed. Also, as you can see, Gault doesn’t mind rolling with no shirt on at the Playboy mansion.
YAHOO! SPORTS’ Jonathan Littman caught up with Gault recently:
Time can be especially cruel to sprinters, but Gault keeps clocking swift times and beating the odds. To put his accomplishments in perspective, few professional sprinters win beyond their 20s, and most hang up their spikes for good in their early 30s after the hamstring pulls and the years of pounding have taken their toll. Furthermore, most NFL veterans approaching the half-century mark suffer from arthritic knees and assorted aches and pains. Most consider themselves lucky if they can golf without pain.
Compare that to Gault, who can still crack 10 seconds in the 100-yard dash, and last year ran the 40 in a blistering 4.27. Age-grading track and field tables suggest that his recent 10.80 for the 100 meters at 48 is the equivalent of 9.76 by a man in his 20s â€“ only a step behind Usain Bolt, and fast enough for a silver medal at the Bejing Olympics.
Gault’s prowess isn’t merely impressive, it’s actually unprecedented. He’s such a freak of nature that scientists and aging experts want to study him:
â€śI know people who would like to do tests on him,â€ť said Steven Austad, a biologist who studies aging at the University of Texas. â€śThis shows we have not yet plumbed what training would do to people at older ages. Whatâ€™s the optimum training in your 40s? It may be that heâ€™s hit on something really good. Or heâ€™s some strange genetic outlier.â€ť
I’m going to go with “genetic outlier” when I read stuff like this:
Gault weighs the same 176 to 178 pounds he did 25 years ago. He eats sparingly, loves his vegetables and organic foods, and eschews meat. â€śIf a fish walked I wouldnâ€™t eat it,â€ť he said.
He said he abstains from the popular vices: â€śNo drugs, no drinking, no smoking.â€ť Six hours is all the sleep he needs, and on his hard training days he does 1,600 crunches.
1,600? I don’t think I’ve done that many in my entire life.
It would be fascinating to see what Gault could still do on a football field, but he says he’s done with sports. His goal now is to improve on his 100 time and get it to 10.65 at age 50. That would be the equivalent of a 20-something sprinter running a 9.5 â€” faster than even Bolt has accomplished.