Keizo Miura -- 11/13/04

Well, this is what things looked like here about 6:30 this morning when I went out to bring in the morning newspaper. We did have that "winter snow event" that was forecast.

It wasn't as bad as it might look -- perhaps an inch and a half on the pavement when I took these pictures. I went back out half an hour later and had the driveway and sidewalk clear in around twenty minutes. (Driveway is about 20 feet wide and almost 55 feet from garage to street, so that alone is over a thousand square feet... not bad today, but when half a foot of snow falls, it is a big job.)

The Old Grey Poet had an entry where he mentioned some of the aches and pains of age. I commented that I understood all too well what he was talking about [the ache in an ankle or a joint, an itch or an ache as you are trying to fall asleep, legs or feet complaining about what you are trying to make them do, the decrease in speed and stamina -- *sigh*] and I said that I should write an entry about my hero: Keizo Miura.

Miura is an athlete -- a skier and a mountain climber -- he has scaled a number of mountains, including Mount Kilimanjaro. He not only climbs mountains, he also skiis down them. Lots of people do downhill skiing you may say. Yes, but Miura skiis down big mountains. He frequently sets age records for such activities. You see, he was born in 1904. Last year he skied down Mont Blanc (the tallest mountain in Europe) at age 99. Despite becoming a centenarian, he continues to ski. In fact, he celebrated his 100th birthday by traveling (with 120 family members!) to Utah for skiing. Although Miura skied the full runs, the occasion was marked by four generations of the Muira family skiing together down the final 700 meters of a run -- this relatively short run being chosen because the youngest members of the group were pre-school aged great-grandchildren. This group of skiers included Keizo (age 100), Keizo’s son Yuichiro (age 71), second grandson Gota (age 34), great-granddaughter Rio (age 4), first grandson Yuta (age 38), Yuta’s wife Rie (age 31). (One news article said his one year old great-grandson Yuki was also along, but wasn't clear about whether Yuki skied on his own or was carried.)

When told that he is amazing, Miura claims that there is nothing amazing about him, but rather that it is his son, Yuichiro Miura, who is amazing. Yuichiro, back in 1970, gained some fame by skiing Mount Everest. His real claim to fame, however, is that in 2003 -- at age 70 -- he became the oldest person to climb to the top of Everest. (Isn't there something delightful about a 71 year old athlete being praised by his athletic 100 year old father?)

I realize that when you pass the century mark, you're really living on borrowed time. I have admired Everett Hosack, a track and field athlete who set many age group records. In April of 2002, running in the Penn Relays (a major track meet) at age 100, he beat the age group 100+ World Record (which he had set) for the 100 meter dash by four seconds. He competed in 100, 200, and 400 meter runs, as well as shot-put, discus, and javelin. Unfortunately, he passed away earlier this year -- his wife died late in 2002 and apparently his spirits dropped rapidly after her death.

I don't think I'll be skiing down a mountain when I'm 100 -- but that's because you aren't likely to find me skiing down a mountain this year either -- strap a couple of narrow boards to my feet and slide down a mountain? No thanks. (I do have a pair of cross-country skiis around here somewhere, although I've not used them in several years.) I do think it would be very cool to be 100 and as active as Keizo Miura, although my choice of sports is closer to Everett Hosack's.

So I guess I should post this and, in the four hours I have to play with before we are due at a dinner party in honor of a niece's birthday, try to get to the library and the supermarket and straighten up my den/office a little bit and try to put in at least 45 minutes on the exercise bike. There will be no workout tomorrow -- well, a bit of walking -- because we plan on heading into New York to visit Sammy (oh, yeah, and Adam & Leah as well *grin*).

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