Orville Rogers, the running phenom from Dallas, Texas who held numerous world and American age group records on the track, died in hospice on November 14, just a few days short of his 102nd birthday.
Rogers came to running relatively late in life, taking up the sport in his 50s, progressing to the marathon and racing in his first national track meet (and setting two world records) at the age of 90, in 2008. His records have included the M95 400m, the M100 800m, the M90 and M95 mile, and the M90 4 x 100m, 4 x 400m and 4 x 800m relays. (And that’s just his outdoor records.)
Inspired to become a pilot at the age of 10 when American aviator Charles Lindbergh circled his school after flying solo across the Atlantic, Rogers trained bomber pilots during World War II and later became a commercial pilot. He also put his flying skills to use as a Baptist missionary, serving in Tanzania with his wife, Esther Beth Rogers, who died many years ago.
Just two years ago, Rogers published a memoir called The Running Man. Rogers would have turned 102 on November 28. He leaves numerous children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.