In his late 50s, Marco Olmo won what many consider the most challenging race in the world (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc). Perhaps even more impressive than his age is that he won the race two years in a row (2006 and 2007). The specifics of the race vary each year, but it averages between 150 and 160 kilometers with almost 9000 meters of elevation gain throughout. Each year hundreds of competitors fail to complete the course. Meanwhile, Marco Olmo earned back to back victories.
He attempted to win again at age 60 but was unsuccessful. A documentary was filmed as he prepared for the event. I have not seen the full film, but was intrigued after watching the brief trailer (thanks to RamÃ³n for passing it along):
Within the clip, you will see that Marco is a regular working class man. He isn’t like many modern athletes who have specialists and sponsors to take care of every last detail. Marco works out by himself and has succeeded without any trainers or dietitians. He briefly speaks on this topic within the clip below (different from the trailer above).
I like this story for many reasons. It’s obviously great to see someone in their late 50’s compete at the highest level in the world. It is even better when the individual is just a regular person. Marco has succeeded on his own. He has figured out what works for him. There aren’t specialists preparing his meals or periodizing his workload. Marco thrives on the basics. He is consistent, diligent, and persevering.
As has been said before, simplicity often trumps complexity. Marco Olmo is living proof of this concept…