Haile Satayin Will be the Oldest Olympic Marathon Runner

With a passport reading 53 years, Haile Satayin will be the oldest runner at the start of Beijing Olympic Marathon this August.

I got his story from listening to Satayin audio interview on NPR. The Israel runner will be one of the oldest runners at this years Beijing Olympics. If you think Haile Satayin is too old to run at this level, keep in mind that 4 years ago at Athens Olympics marathon the man was finisher No. 20. His personal best time for a marathon is 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 21 seconds at a competition in Venice in 2003.

Does the name Haile sound familiar? Satayin emigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 1991. Moving from the famine of Ethiopia to fast food lifestyle of Israel can have a dramatic effect to a man’s weight. He says that living in Israel made him gain weight, and he needed a way to slim down. He soon started running competitively.

Haile Satayin Training Programme

Most days, Satayin gets up around 4:30 a.m. and runs at least a half-marathon before it gets too hot. Am only 27 and I can only manage a half-marathon once a week,  I NEED TO PULL UP MY SOCKS.

Satayin is currently training in the hills of his native Ethiopia, where it’s cooler. Just like other Olympic hopefuls, he is dreaming big.

“It would be great to win a medal, but in any case I’ll compete and do my best. I’m the oldest runner there, and I thank God that he’s given me strength to run. As long as I can, I’ll keep running,” he says.

Although I will be rooting for Kenyan runners at Olympics, I will be happy if Haile Satayin wins at least a bronze medal.  I wish him best of Luck.

7 thoughts on “Haile Satayin Will be the Oldest Olympic Marathon Runner

  1. Steve

    Wow, 53 years old and able to run that fast – very impressive! The Olympic marathon should be a great race. Who do you think will win?

  2. Wayne

    Constantine, this is awesome! Remembered 1972 when Jack Foster ran the marathon for New Zealand. He did remarkably well. Haile was awesome in Athens and will be again in Beijing. I’ll be rooting for him!

  3. Tiffany

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  4. Constantine Njeru

    With a flat marathon route in Beijing you would expect the Fast Martin Lel to be the favourite, but the the course is composed of various surfaces, including stone (that could cause slipping); newly paved asphalt (which will increase the heat); and concrete that appeared harder than Japanese concrete (perhaps because Beijing’s main roads are meant to accommodate tanks and other military vehicles). The stamina of Robert Cheruiyot might just win the day!

  5. Wayne

    Constantine, I was thinking about the marathon during my run this morning and Cheruiyot came to mind first as the one who could win at Beijing. I like Martin Lel as well but never count out the Japanese runners. Ryan Hall? I could see him in the top five (maybe 5th).

    It’s too bad about Gebreselassie. However, I can understand with the “not so great” air in Beijing.

  6. WorldRunner

    This gives older runners hope. I thought I was over the hill at 41 and gaining weight to 160 (5’6”). One of my life’s dream was to run in the olympics, I set a goal after the Atlanta olympics at which time I had just done my best marathon at over 4 hours (LA). I thought I was on my way to be able to run in Sydney.

    But unfortunately since then my health went downhill (kidney stones, weight gain, not to mention job responsiblities and marriage) and untill now I lost hope of ever competing in the olympics!

    Really, Dara Torres has been my inspiration…though I realize she has always competed on the world’s best levels. This story about Haile Satayin gives me actual hope that it can be done even to normal beings who set goals. In 1991 (when he moved to Israel and started gaining weight) he was 36 years old (only 5 yrs younger than I). I don’t know what kind of physical condition he was in before 1991, but assuming he wasn’t an avid long distance fast runner, I am roughly at the same level he was in 1991.

    Really, this story has been one good reason for me to live! If my put my heart and soul (and lose about 35 pounds), I could possibly compete in the London olympics at age of 45. Any body think it is possible/impossible?

    Haile, you give us all hope! God bless you and other people who say “Never say never”


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