NOVI SAD, Serbia (AA)[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]–[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Super Grandpa” Silvester Kovac, a nonagenarian from Croatia, is putting youngsters world over to shame with his almost superhuman feat of running 2 kilometers (1.24 mile) everyday despite his advanced age.
While most people half or even one-tenth his age would prefer to sip coke and munch on hamburgers in front of their television sets, Kovac is out there in the streets, rain or shine, running to keep himself fit.
In fact, he has been running marathons for the last 70 years. He has bagged several awards in marathons and semi-marathons in the veterans’ category during his participation at various events in different Balkan countries since 1948.
Known for being the oldest athlete currently marching in the Balkans, Kovac told Anadolu Agency he was not done with his amazing feats yet.
“I have participated in five different marathons last year and I will run this year as well.”
Ignoring the fact that even most young people would not be able to match his stamina, he only speaks about the fact that people in his age bracket would, understandably, not be able to keep up with him.
“People in my age group no longer engage in sports and they follow such sporting events only on television,” he said.
He regrets not being able to run “a full marathon” anymore even though, he said, he was still running 2 kilometers (1.24 mile) every day to stay fit.
– Secret to long life
Almost sounding like the character, Forrest Gump, from the Hollywood blockbuster by the same name, who too would never stop running, Kovac said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“I run every day in rain, mud and snow.
“If you want to be successful in any area, not just sports, you have to work and work hard.”
Kovac, who was born in 1928 in Croatia and now lives in Serbia, recalled that he became a member of an athletic club in the Croatian city of Osijek in 1948.
“I have run a marathon since that first year I joined the club. Then I moved to Novi Sad city in Serbia. I started working here and then I retired. Changing the country did not stop me from participating in my sport though,” he said.
His personal best marathon record was made on Nov.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]29,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]1980, when he ran 60 kilometers (37 miles).
The Second World War veteran, who has a wife, two daughters and four grandchildren, said he gets his health checkups regularly and has never been on blood pressure or heart-related medicines.
He revealed that the secret to a long and healthy life was in sports and staying away from stress.
“Keep negative thoughts out of your mind. The important thing is to do the job and to gather nice friends.”
*Talha Ozturk contributed to this story from Belgrade, Serbia.
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