This month, we’re excited to share the story of a stellar athlete who is defying age stereotypes and is so humble about his amazing accomplishments. Rich Castro recently ran a 6:38 mile placing 2nd at the Pearl Street Mile, a USATF Colorado Championship race, in the 70-74 age group. While Rich is keeping his competitive spirit alive by continuing to achieve outstanding results, he also is encouraging people of every age to get active at every athletic level. This well-rounded point of view and Rich’s dedication to cross-training throughout his life has earned Rich the title of Rider Of The Month. He shares more about himself in his own words below.
I count the start of my running career from when I began training as a freshman in high school at age 13 in the fall of 1961. I had been running track races in elementary school starting in 5th grade but did not train for them. I raced four years of cross country and track in high school and college. Before I started riding my ElliptiGO Bike, I had always been a strong advocate for cross-training, especially among masters runners (40+.) I owned an elliptical, had a Nordic Track, a Concept 2 rowing machine, free weights, and a Reebok spinner. I have a degree in P.E. and a master’s in exercise physiology. So my research told me that just running wasn’t the best way of approaching overall fitness. I did lectures on cross-training and used it as the basis for training Ellen Hart, a world-class athlete 35 years ago.
My years in high school and college were all based on being part of the team, getting a letter and winning races. The first major goal I set as an adult was to do the Boston Marathon. Being in Boulder in the ’70s, it seemed like everyone’s goal. So I wanted to run 6 minute pace at Boston, with my first effort coming in 1979 but fell short and only ran 2:49. I was never a good marathoner but I did 18 of them.
I am proudest that I have great range, from being a sprinter at the end of my college career to running just about every type of running event there is out there. I have done the Hood to Coast relay, run mountain and trail races and raced in the Veteran World Track Championships at 800m. I am proud that I have raced for 58 consecutive years.
As with most runners I have had my share of minor injuries. Low back problems, piriformis syndrome, IT Band problems, pulled calf and hamstring muscles. Cross-training helped me avoid career-ending injuries. Since starting riding my ElliptiGO bike, I have had very few issues and those were caused by running, not the GO.
We first purchased the 8C because my wife had two total knee replacement and was looking for an alternative to running. After putting it together while she was in rehab, I started playing with it and really enjoyed the time I spent out riding. I tried the 11R at a demo and fell in love with it. We got a second one for my wife so we wouldn’t have to share.
I ride daily in some fashion. Ideally Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, I ride to and from my running workouts. I meet my group and usually ride 30 minutes each way. The other days I like to go long on Sundays and run 75-90 minutes on the other days. I usually ride hard on the uphill sections. I sometimes run my errands locally on it as well!
The goal with cross-training is to avoid overuse injuries brought about by running, especially on hard surfaces. My ElliptiGO bike has done exactly that and the big key for me is that what hurts when running doesn’t hurt while riding the GO.
My ElliptiGO bike gets me outside and lets me enjoy the great place where I live and it’s fun to ride. Being active gives me a strong sense of well being.
Life for me is great, I retired from the University of Colorado after 35 years. I arrived at CU after college and a short stint in the Peace Corps 48 years ago and never left. I worked as a graduate assistant in the track program and 1976 I started the women’s collegiate program under Title IX. I helped pioneer one of the first major student recreation centers in the country and became the club sport and intramural director. I started the first community running club (the Boulder Road Runners) 40 years ago. I launched several major road races in the area, including the first marathon, and brought national championships in cross country to Boulder. So running has always been an integral part of my lifestyle. My wife Patti and I have two sons that live in Boulder and went to CU. We are active in our church and currently serve as ministers to a local nursing home and worked at the local food bank when it first started. I love to play poker (Texas Hold’em), garden, read, cook and travel.
My advice to seniors is to use it or lose it. Start doing something you enjoy and it will be easy to stay active. Seek out others with similar interests, as Rudyard Kipling said, “The strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the pack is in the wolf.” My college coach taught me to be part of something bigger than myself. That’s why this is my motto.
“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike
That’s why I love being part of a team because shared triumphs are more richly savored.
Rich, thank you for being on our team and continuing to inspire the community. The best is yet to come.