STATS--Rodgers Wins A Falmouth Division For Sixth Decade; Samuelson Too

Racing an early Falmouth, from left:
Mike Roche, Alberto Salazar, Bill Rodgers
We learned the other day that Bill Rodgers won his age group in the recent Falmouth Road Race. No big deal, especially not for Rodgers, but that’s precisely the point. It marked the sixth consecutive decade in which Rodgers has been an age-group winner at Falmouth. He won in his 20s, he has now won in his 70s, and he has won in every decade between.

Here at, we try not to focus on performance. We’re more interested in runners who keep going for reasons of personal persistence, health, and wellbeing. That said, who’s not interested in staying as fast as we can? Who’s not interested in excellence?

We certainly are. So we say, "Go for seven straight decades, Boston Billy."

Rodgers is quick to point out that Joan Samuelson beat him to six decades of age-group wins at Falmouth. She got there last year, roughly three months after she turned 60. She took home her first Falmouth age-group crown at 19.

As many are aware, Samuelson has remained ferociously fast in her 40s, 50s, and 60s. She may still have her sights set on a sub-3 marathon at 60+, which has never been achieved by a woman runner. That said, she has been troubled by injuries of late, and hasn’t run a serious marathon since her 2:54:26 at Boston 2015.

Here are the basic stats on Samuelson and Rodgers at Falmouth: their first wins, their fastest times, their most recent age-group wins. As far as we know, the 7-mile course has remained essentially the same through the years.

First Falmouth win
Falmouth PR
Recent age-g win

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PROFILE--Joel Pasternack has been running for 54 years (127,034 miles)

Pasternack (second from left) with Tom Fleming (left)
and Ron Hill. Can you name runner on right?
(Answer at bottom of article.)
(9-18) Joel Pasternack, from Woodland Park, NJ, is a running coach whose athletes include running clubs, recreational youth groups, high school teams and private clients. He has been coaching for 45 years.  His streak of 11 years and two months of running at least 3 miles per day came to an end on January 6, 2015 due to knee replacement surgery (the sixth).  He’d like to get 10,000 miles out of this last knee replacement, which he predicts will get him to age 75 and 137,034 lifetime miles. He has saved every issue of Runners World since the inaugural issue.  

Started running: September 1965. I’m now 68. Where did the time go?

Why did you start running? I was too small for football (4'10" 105lbs) and didn't understand soccer. In the fall of 1969 when I was running for Monmouth College, I ran against Tom Fleming from Paterson State. We became close friends and running partners for 20 years. Now, I run with more patience and (a lot) more slowly, but it was so much fun to run during the 70s when we were all crazy, young Turks on the road. In the late 70s I would run from Clifton NJ, where I was living at the time, over the George Washington Bridge to my store, The Athletic Attic, on 6th Avenue between 11th and 12th street, 25 miles round trip.

Did you have an early inspiration or person who motivated you? I love the training methods of Bill Bowerman and use them in my own plans. As for runners, I was fortunate to coach the great

PROFILE--Joe Henderson has been running for 60 years

(9-18) Joe Henderson is one of those names that belongs on the short list of people who "launched the running boom." As the first professional editor of Runner's World, Henderson steered the magazine toward all runners--not just the elite. Born in Illinois and raised in Iowa, Joe has always had a midwestern warmth and approachability--both in his personality and his writing. Four decades after leaving his post at RW, and now living in Eugene, OR, Joe continues running-walking, writing, coaching, and spreading his love for running.

Recent birthday? June. Which, of course, means that I recently passed the age-75 milepost. The intended marathon walk/run celebration became half of that, and purely walking. Relieved that a medical issue allowed even this.

Professional career? It’s a loooong story. Briefly, I’ve written about running for nearly the entirety of my running life. Started reporting cross-country for a local newspaper while in high school, 1960… continued writing about the sport for my college paper… then at a statewide newpaper… then at Track & Field News, Runner’s World, Running Magazine and finally Marathon & Beyond. Dozens of books grew out of the magazine work and the running journals I’d kept for six decades – and still do.

When did you start running and WHY? 1958 as a high school freshman, age 14. The wise-guy answer is that I’d failed at everything else – football, basketball, baseball – and track was