Winnipeg senior aims to set provincial record for 100-metre sprint

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg senior aims to set provincial record for 100-metre sprint' Winnipeg senior aims to set provincial record for 100-metre sprint
At 95 years old, Lou Billinkoff is looking to become a provincial champion when he competes in the 100 metre race at the Manitoba Age Class Championships, later this month – Jun 5, 2018

He started running at 89 years old and hasn’t looked back.

Six years later, Lou Billinkoff is looking to sprint his way into the record books and become a provincial champion.

“It gives me a thrill, it just gives me a thrill,” Billinkoff said, when asked why he runs.

Billinkoff turned 95 years old Tuesday and spent his big day at the indoor track at the Canada Games Sport for Life Centre.

He laced up his sneakers to try to establish a new indoor 50 metre sprint record.

Billinkoff ran the span in 14.45 seconds.

“It’s not as good as I hoped for because I know I can do better,” Billinkoff said.

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“If you look up the Canadian masters record, there actually is no 50 metre indoor time for anybody over the age of 94,”  Sheldon Reynolds, Billinkoff’s performance run coach explained.

Reynolds went on to say that because there were no track officials at the centre, Tuesday’s race was just a test event in preparation for the Manitoba Age Class Championships later this month.

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Billinkoff will be looking to break the record for the 100 metre sprint in the 95+ age category.

“Lou is amazing,” Reynolds said.  “He emailed me about two months ago, and he wanted to learn how to run faster.”

Together the two came up with a program which sees the senior athlete train four days a week, for 60 minute sessions.

Reynolds calls Billinkoff a sponge because he soaks everything up.

“He wants to learn how to move the arms faster, he wants to get a better start, it’s just amazing.”

Billinkoff even has his own unique way of starting a race, called the “Lou Leap.”

“Rather than step out of the start, he likes to leap out of the start, to get himself propelled to go faster.”

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The current record for the 100 metre sprint in the 95+ age category is 1:18.30.  Billinkoff’s best time is 28.29.

Reynolds is confident that the 95 year old will demolish the record during the championships on June 23.

As for Billinkoff, he said he knows he’s fast, he just needs to believe in himself.

“If I have a lot of confidence in myself and relaxed, that’s all I need.”

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