Orville Rogers trained fighter pilots in World War II and flew the B-36 on secret missions in the Korean War. After the war was over, he flew jungle missions all over the world and enjoyed a 31-year career as a pilot for Braniff Airways.
At the age of 50, Rogers began running for the first time ever. In 2008, at age 90, he entered his first national championship and the rest is history. Literally. Once he started running, he quickly set nearly 20 world records and now holds nearly every American and world record in both the 90-94 and 95-99 year old age groups.
He passed away on November 14, 2019, at the age of 101.
Rogers fought through multiple health challenges, including bypass surgery to open six blocked arteries, and in 2011, at the age of 93, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left arm, hip and leg. Instead of giving up on running and retiring to the couch or wheelchair, Rogers requested the most intense rehabilitation program possible. His doctor obliged and within months, Rogers was back on the track competing.
Asked about his philosophy for achieving active longevity Rogers told Growing Bolder, “I am in accord with Winston Churchill’s famous saving never give up. Never, never give up.”
We conducted this interview with Rogers shortly before his 100th birthday.