Heights senior sprints for gold
At age 70, Stephen Robbins is on fire.
A celebrated author of organizational behavior and management, retired San Diego State University professor, 2005 inductee into the Masters Hall of Fame and a Cleveland Heights resident for five years, Robbins is not one to rest on the laurels of past achievements. Many years ago, Robbins set out to become what he calls “the world's fastest Medicare recipient.”
At this year’s National Senior Games, hosted in Cleveland, Robbins won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter sprint events. He finished the 100-meter sprint in 13.09 seconds and the 200-meter in 27.33 seconds.
While this was his first time participating in the Senior Games, Robbins has been running competitively for 20 years. When he turned 50 years old, he competed in the Masters Track and Field World Championship.
In 2008, at age 65, Robbins broke world records in his age group for the 100- and 200-meter sprints.
Although Robbins is no longer the fastest Medicare recipient, he is still fast. “That [title] would go to Charlie Allie of Pittsburgh, who is now 66 and running much faster than me,” Robbins said. “I'm merely the fastest 70-year-old in the world. That title and $5 might get me a latte at Starbucks.”
Robbins trains regularly at Case Western Reserve University’s indoor and outdoor tracks. “I am on the track three times a week. I lift in the gym three times a week. I also do Pilates once a week and get deep-tissue massage three times a week,” he said.
Robbins has also had his share of slow-downs, too. “I've only been able to compete in three track meets over the past two years,” he said. “Most of last year I had sciatica. In early February of this year, I injured an Achilles [tendon] and I've only been able to train now since June 1.”
During his running career, Robbins has won 18 national championships and 12 world titles. He holds world records in 100-meter (12.37 seconds) and 200-meter (25.20 seconds) sprints for men aged 65 and older.
Robbins is currently preparing for the World Masters Championship in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In the meantime, you can find him in his Ambler Heights neighborhood, or on the track.
Chris Hanson is a graduate of the Urban Studies program at Cleveland State University.