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Be Like Mike. All Of Them. A Collection Of Stories From The Mikes Of Geezer Jock.

June 25, 2024 4 min read 2 Comments

Be Like Mike. All Of Them. A Collection Of Stories From The Mikes Of Geezer Jock.

This is a worthwhile read today. Skim through these short stories of Mikes who have provided lessons in past Geezer Jock stories. Here is Mike Gearhart, then 66, competing in a Spartan Race in Greece in 2022 with "kids" half his age.

By Ray Glier

I have written many times before that older folks are not a monolith when it comes to exercise. Pickleball is huge, softball is nationwide, but Geezer Jocks get their sweat in all different ways.

I needed a break this week so I turned to the Mikes to show the medley of exercise done by Geezer Jocks. These are short snippets of motivation you can browse quickly this morning before you head out. Links to original longer stories included.

1. Mike in Greece With The Youngsters.

Mike Gearhart, 66, was on top of a wall, but he felt like he was on top of the world. He was in Sparta, Greece, competing in the grueling Spartan Race when a competitor--Mike figured he was 30-- looked at Gearhart climbing over the eight-foot obstacle and said, “I can’t believe you are doing this. I’m hoping I do this at your age.”

The Takeaway from this Mike: You have more in you than you think. Not too old.

Gearhart was one of the oldest competitors among the 3,000 from 78 countries around the world participating in a three-day event. For someone to see him as an inspiration was exhilarating.

At another point in the race, Mike was going backward on a parallel bar, which is extremely challenging. Many lose their grip and fall. Gearhart maintained his grip and a voice below him called out, “At your age! That’s awesome.”

Not once in Greece did Gearhart think he was exposing himself to risk of shame competing against men half his age. He had thrown off those mental shackles.

2. Jersey Mike Teaching Himself.

Michael Kish, then 71, made himself inevitable in the sprints in 2022. He dominated because studied online workouts to squeeze every bit of speed out of his body. 

Kish, a teacher, won world events and just amazed the track & field community with a 12.66-second time in the 100.

The Takeaway from this Mike: You know You better than anyone. Teach yourself to go faster, if that's what you want.

“I was trying to find strength exercises that would complement sprinting for Masters,” he said. “It’s different for a 20- or 30-year old. Finding the correct weight level is important at my age. Is this too heavy or too light?

“I came across some weight training ideas for core, legs to hips, calves, and thighs. Track is so straight ahead so I try to move in different directions in warmups and try and get the body use to different movements.”

Kish photo by Rob Jerome.

3. Mike The Lawyer Coach Telling His Story

I asked Mike Lavinga, a lawyer and wrestling coach, about how sculpting his body with workouts and managing his weight all these years is helping him fight an illness where the five-year life span with his brand of cancer is 29 percent.

His fitness is not the story, said Mike, who throws the discus and shot.

He said to credit his fitness gives too much credit to himself and not enough to “The Creator."

The Takeaway from This Mike: Be humble. Accept a spiritual force, whether through religion or a force of nature.

Lavigna is devoted to scripture. He also said people should share their stories. It’s good for everybody. “God has given you a story,” Mike said. “Go tell it.”

Then he says, “We're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. And no man lives to himself. Or dies to himself.”

Here are the two stories I did on Mike. Here and here.


Mike Lavigna.

4. Mike The Racewalker Has No Time To Waste.

Mike Devaney, then 72, loves to travel the U.S. in a car. He was in corporate America for years and the flyovers left an empty feeling, like he was missing something.

He was missing something, the majesty of this country of ours. So he drives. Mike's bags have never ended up in Topeka when he was in Lansing and there was no maddening two-hour wait to take off inside an airplane cabin.

Mike raced in 10 different states in 2022 traveling in that 2000 red Honda, which had 297,680 miles Dec. 10, but is likely over 300,000 miles by now.

The takeaway from this Mike: It's good to have goals and chase them far and wide.

Devaney wants to win a gold medal in every state. 

Mike Devaney. Photo by National Senior Games.

5. Mike The Coach Keeps It Fun.

Mike Collins, 64, doesn't just run a throws practice. It is track & field practice, but it is also a carnival of fun. The only thing missing are the stilts.

Collins has his athletes toss the “witches broom”, which teaches them to slow down and sequence throws properly, as if the broom is a discus in their hand (see picture below).

The takeaway from this Mike: Invent. There are more ways to train than what are in a book.

He puts a PVC pipe on a rope affixed to a high post and has them grip the foot-long plastic and launch it with a throwing motion on an arc along the rope line to simulate the javelin toss (see another picture). It keeps their arm on an even plane.

Mike’s athletes toss arrows, the ones that typically go with bows, to improve hand speed.

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2 Responses

Mike Gearhart
Mike Gearhart

June 22, 2024

Thank you for publishing the article. I ran the race again in 2023. This time I was able to place first in my age group in the open category for the Beast portion of the series, which is 20 km and 30 obstacles. The total for the entire series is 35 km and 75 obstacles. I encourage others to try running at least one Spartan event (a 5km) and see how they like it. There’s no time pressure and the spirit of the group that’s running is very positive and fun.

Rick Buskowiak
Rick Buskowiak

June 22, 2024

Great Articles 👍👍

Just a quick story -
I am a In-line skater at 68 years old 4 to 5 times
a week each day 13 miles in a hour and 3 min.
maintain 12.38 miles per hour to keep heart rate at pace – Great exercise and works a lot of muscle groups.

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