GOOD

105-Year-Old Cyclist Robert Marchand Is The World’s Fastest Centenarian

He’s too busy shattering records and stereotypes to age

When Robert Marchand was born in 1911, the gas-powered automobile was a mere 10 years old. Just six years before in 1905, Albert Einstein changed the world with his theory of special relativity. Now it’s Marchand changing the world, setting a world record for the 105-plus category (a designation created just for him) by cycling 22.547 kilometers miles in one hour. That’s just a little over 14 miles for nonmetric-system users. So maybe we all can find a little time to get to the gym.

As reported by USA Today, Mr. Marchand has been defying the odds for quite a while. When he was just a boy, he had a coach tell him he would never amount to anything on the bike. At 5 feet tall, Marchand cuts a slight figure. But he was not deterred, and even after years of having no time to practice, he finally picked up a bike again at the age of 68. Soon the Frenchman was hitting the road for long hauls, riding from Paris to Roubaix, from Bordeaux to Paris, and from Paris to Moscow.


[quote position="full" is_quote="true"] He never pushed his limits—goes to bed at 9 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. There's no other secret. [/quote]

His youthfulness comes from his balanced diet. Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told the AP, “He never pushed his limits—goes to bed at 9 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. There's no other secret.” Mistler continued, saying that Marchand eats fruits and vegetables every day, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t watch much TV, and only has the occasional glass of wine.

And, here’s the thing—he could have gone even faster, his physiologist Veronique Billat told the AP. Billat, who relayed that Marchand stopped eating meat after recently discovering how cruelly animals are treated, believes that Marchand can better his time if he starts eating meat again and building up muscle.

For now, Marchand isn’t looking toward the future. He lives on a roughly $900 pension in a flat in Paris, and he’s looking out for his next challenge. “I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left," Marchand said. "Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I'm now waiting for a rival."

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