The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-417 – Robert Owen Hamilton – Beyond Average

(Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4417.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello and welcome to episode 4-417 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Welcome to all my endurance friends as the summer winds down up here in the northern hemisphere.  Maybe you’re wrapping up your season or deep into training for that last fall marathon. 

The September weather we’ve been having is more like August weather.  It’s been warm this week and dry for quite a while.  The days are getting precipitously short, it’s dark in the morning and dark in the afternoon and soon it will be dark all the time here in New England like the bottom of some deep, cold well with a small circle of sunlight at the top peeking in to signal the long lonesome memory of sunny days past and the long winter ahead. 

In the old, farming days this would be the time of plenty.  The crops are in the larders are full and the new beer and wine are fermenting.  This is the time of Thanksgiving and Oktoberfest.  Before the slow march into the winter solstice.  The ancients saw it, literally, as the death of the world. 

I have just started running again after taking two weeks off.  I came out of that last marathon really beat up and decided to give it a bit of a rest.  I looked back over the Spring and Summer and realized that I’ve run 10 races over the last few months.  It was what I wanted to do after spending so much time heads down training.  But it does leave you a bit beat up

I’ve been getting OllieDog the border collie puppy out with me more often as well.  He’s going to be a big dog.

Today we have an interview with Robert Hamilton Owens who reached out to me to talk about aging and fitness.  Robert is one of those guys with an agenda or passion.  His passion is convincing people that age is no excuse to not do stuff.  You can do more than you think. 

Robert has written a book and speaks on this topic.  He’s circulates in that hard core ‘we can do anything group’ with Joe DeSena from Spartan and David Goggins.  He is a retired Special Ops Pararescue guy.  He’s an ironman.  He’s had a TV show and been a minister.  He did that 7 marathons in 7 days thing with McGillivray last year.  He is known as ‘the fittest 66 year old in the world’. 

Most recently he went through the equivalent of the BUDS SEAL training Hell Week.  That’s the thing you see with them shivering in the surf and carrying logs around.  Interesting guy.  A bit of a force of nature.  The kind of guy you want on your side in a fight. 

One thing you may or may not notice is me getting a bit less interactive towards the end on the interview.  I had set myself up in a conference room to take the call and someone found me towards the end and was sitting there waiting for me to finish which kinda cramped my style.  That whole separating work from hobby thing again.

Today I decided to wrap the whole episode around the concepts of aging and what we are really capable of.  In section one I talk about what the current thinking is on age and fitness.  In section two we delve into that ‘giving more than you think you are capable of’ topic and try to weed out truth from magical thinking.  

That’s the question my friends.  How much more can you get out of yourself and why aren’t you getting it?  Can you live up to or beyond your potential?  Do you even want to?

Let’s find out.

On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do have a membership option where you can become a member and as a special thank you, you will get access to member’s only audio. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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Section one – The effect of age on fitness -


Voices of reason – the conversation

Robert Hamilton Owens


Robert Hamilton Owens is a man of many hats. He’s been and done a lot – mountain climbing, radio and TV personality, keynote speaker, minister, Ironman, philanthropist, triathlete, Special Ops Pararescueman, and father of five – to name a few. But of all the pursuits he’s undertaken, there’s one title that best describes this literal force of nature: Robert is The Fittest 66-Year-Old in the World. Period.

Robert was born and raised in Orange County, California without ever having met his parents. Adopted by a California judge, Robert was raised as a special-needs child who was unable to play kickball with his classmate due to the corrective shoes he was required to wear through sixth grade.

In high school, Robert trained under legendary US Olympic swim coach Jon Urbanchek in Anaheim, and later raced outrigger canoes from Long Beach to Catalina with the Dana Point Outrigger Club on his off time from lifeguarding in San Clemente. 

In 1973, he entered the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School with a class of 157 men to train as a Pararescueman, the Air Force equivalent of a Navy SEAL. Of those 157, only seven made the through and graduated, one of which was Robert, who was designated Team Leader.

As an Air Force Pararescueman, Robert was routinely called upon to risk his life to rescue those in perilous situations, such as climbers stranded on Denali, the highest mountain in North America. As a climber himself, Robert later attempted a winter ascent up the mountain, making it nearly three quarters of the way up before being blown off by 80-mile-per-hour, -100-degree winds. But to his credit, and to Robert’s understanding to this day, no one has ever made it to the top in those conditions. After Robert left the military, he began smuggling literature into the old Soviet Union, and smuggling official documents back out. The documents were violations of the Helsinki Peace Accords under the Carter administration.

Robert Hamilton Owens

In total, Robert has completed 12 Ironman Triathlons – from Florida to Oahu to South Africa – and is one of the few Ironmen to complete both Honolulu in 1980 as well as Kona in 2003. “My goal is to be the longest active Ironman in the world,” he says. The 140.6-mile Ironman (2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.3-mile run, all done without a break) is among the shorter competitions Robert’s put himself through. At age 65 he embarked on the 238 mile “300 of Sparta Endurance Race,” an eight-day endurance race in Greece to help raise over $315,000 for the families of fallen Navy SEAL contractors who died at Benghazi. A mere four days before his 66th birthday, Robert took on the SEALFIT’s Kokoro 50-Hour Challenge, originally created to train Special Operations Candidates. He was the oldest of the group by 25 years to finish, and at the same time became the oldest to ever complete the challenge, for which he was awarded the “Most Advanced Age Ever Award” by SEALFIT. And then without any training, he took on the Ironman Mexico – his 12th Ironman. And in January, 2018, Robert took on and completed "The World Marathon Challenge – 7 Marathons 7 Continents 7 Days.”

But for Robert, a father of five, none of this is done for self-aggrandizement. While he loves the challenge, he derives his greatest pleasure from helping others – motivating, educating, and inspiring them. He does it for one, such as helping a ready-to-quit Ironman competitor and cancer survivor to continue and finish the race, and he does it for many.

For more than 25 years, Robert has been speaking before audiences as large as 50,000, from San Diego to Moscow on motivational and leadership topics. His past clients include the Navy SEALs, New York Jets, The Baltimore Ravens, The Philadelphia Eagles, South African Parliament, the Vietnamese Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Philippines Joint Chiefs of Staff. He’s been invited to address the South African Parliament, and has made five trips teaching officials in the Vietnamese Department of Foreign Affairs. During 22 of those years, he hosted the regional Fox network television program “Leadership for Changing Times” in Reno, Nevada where, by two separate Governor’s appointments, he also served for eight years on the Nevada State Judicial Ethics Committee.

While it takes extraordinary physical condition to be in the Air Force Special Ops or to best the many Ironmans he’s bested, Robert will readily affirm that success in these physical endeavors – and in life in general – is as much a matter of will and mental attitude as it is physical conditioning. When most have long since slowed as they approach their golden years, The Fittest 66-Year-Old in the World continues to routinely take on unprecedented challenges, and to help others see what can be achieved in their own lives.


Section two – 40% more–


Well, my friends, You have used your willpower to rise above the limitations of age and poor thinking to strive valiantly, giving 140% to the end of the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-417. 

Since we talked I took some time off.  I was really beat up after that BeanTown marathon try.  I shut it down for the better part of two weeks.  I started up again this week.  The tendonitis in my butt still hurts but I feel relatively fit. 

I’ve only got a couple weeks of training before I have to taper for BayState.  We’ll see what I can do but I’m not mortgaging the house on this one.  I counted up the races I ran this summer and it turns out there were somewhere around 10.  That’s a lot for an old boy. 

They released the statistics for Boston today.  Even with making the cutoffs 5 minutes faster you would have needed to beat the qualification standard by 1:39 to get in for 2020, or about 3200 runner who qualified and didn’t get in.  It’s a brave new world. 

I’ll tell you a couple Ollie dog stories to take you out.  I’m getting tried and I need to wrap this up. 

First, I had him out yesterday on a trail run with me.  My day got hosed so I couldn’t get out until it was almost dark and it was pissing rain.  There’s a point, about 3 miles in where it opens up and you can get to the pond off of the trail.  There’s an opening.  I usually stop here to let the dog drink or swim, not this dog, the last dog, Buddy. 

I pulled out to the opening and told Ollie to go get a drink.  Now, this late in the day, with a full heavy rain going, the surface of the pond looked solid as a cement floor.  He went running into it as if he wa going to run out onto this floor pretty much full tilt scamper…and went right under.  He was quite surprised and managed to dog paddle himself back to dry land. 

This morning I got up and he had been sick.  He left me a fairly disgusting mess in his crate.  I toweled him off and took his blanket out.  I carried the hard-plastic liner out and hosed it off outside.  I went upstairs and through the towel and blanket in the washer and turned it on.  That’s how my day started. 

Then my wife gets up and starts yelling at me for running the washing machine at 6:00 AM!  I explained the situation and she asks me one of those questions that I can’t answer.  “Did he eat anything he wasn’t supposed to?”  He’s a 4-month old, high-energy, border collie pup.  If he’s awake he’s trying to eat something and it’s usually something he’s not supposed to. 

That’s it.  I’ve reverted to being a beginner parent again.  My life is wrapped around picking up bodily fluids and trying to keep my young friend from killing himself.  I’m not sure I’m equipped for it anymore!

May the gods lend me patience.

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


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Direct download: epi4417.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 1:32pm EDT





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