An Edmonton nonagenarian is in a league of his own in track and field.
At the age of 55, Arnold Nett began training and competing in track and field — and is still at it 35 years later. He is 90 years old now and has set a long list of records in the sport as a masters competitor.
“Track and field, I found, was one of the best ways to exercise and to stay fit,” Nett said.
He most recently set three Canadian records during an event in Edmonton in the men’s 90-94 division in pentathlon and high jump, and he became the first Canadian 90-years-old or older to complete the 60-metre hurdles.
“When I went over the first couple hurdles, I guess they were just holding their breath to see if I’d make it over the fifth hurdle, which I did,” Nett said.
“It was a really great experience to watch him run, watch him finish and watch him set a Canadian record, which is really cool,” hurdles coach Jackson Hinton said.
Nett is a member of the Edmonton masters track and field team and an inspiration to those who know him.
“I hope when I get to Arnie’s age still perform as well as Arnie is,” Edmonton masters member David Dunn said.
“I can only imagine what it takes to do it yourself when you’re still in your 70s, 80s and obviously 90s as well. It’s incredibly impressive,” Hinton said.
Nett runs, jumps and throws like a man much younger than his age. His secret is consistency and hard work.
“You have to keep at it. If you lay off for two to three weeks, you can sure notice it after you start again — so you have to keep up with your training.”
“He’s incredibly motivated. He’s always positive; he’s the kind of athlete that a coach has to hold back a little bit because he always wants to do more and he always wants to push himself,” Hinton said.
And Nett will continue to push himself because he has no intention of slowing down.
“My legs are still in pretty good shape and my heart seems to be doing pretty good, so I feel, well, ‘Why not do it while I can?'” he said.
Nett’s priority is to continue to stay active and healthy, and, perhaps, continue to set more records along the way.