Former jockey, 83, races to 10,000-meter victory

October 06, 1990|By Rich Scherr

In 1923, 68-pound Ed Benham became a jockey to satisfy his desire for speed.

Sixty-seven years later, the quest of this 83-year-old Ocean City resident, who now weighs 108, hasn't changed. Only now, he's running on his own two feet.

Yesterday, on the second day of competition in the Maryland Senior Olympics at Towson State, Benham, a runner since age 72, won the 80-84 age group of the 10,000-meter run, with a time of 49 minutes, 4 seconds.

The race was just one of 32 events held yesterday at the games for Maryland seniors, 55 and older. The Olympics will conclude after a full slate of events today.

Benham's time in the 10,000 would have been fast enough to break age-group records for athletes 10 years his junior. His Maryland Senior Olympics record of 42:37.90, which he set two years ago, also is the record for all competitors over 60.

"I run an average of 60 miles a week" along Ocean City's Coastal Highway, says Benham, "and if [a runner's] not sharp, I could beat a 60-year-old."

Benham's accomplishments exceed his words. The senior athlete holds more than 100 age-group world records in track events, ranging from the 800 to 50,000 meters. He also has won numerous gold medals at the national and world Senior Olympics.

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