You'd think that after serving in three wars, 88-year-old Charles Ross would want to take it easy.
He says not a chance.
He took up a new hobby nearly 20 years ago -- track and field.
Now he's ranked number one for his age bracket by U-S-A Track and Field, and he has no plans to slow down.
"5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10..."
They begin in the cool darkness of the stadium at Morehouse college --
out on the track, brutal training that breeds champions. Haha.
In their midst, the number one nationally ranked U.S. track and field star.
Coach dr. Lydia woods - "I encourage him to really attack the bar when he gets up to it and get some height."
"Attack attack attack. Arms. Yes!"
Did we mention ross is 88 years old? A longtime conyers resident, Ross is a celebrated decathlete, a U.S. track and field champion. At nationals this year -- "I entered 13 events. I got eight gold first place medals and five silver."
This, from a man who took up running at the age of 70. The catalyst? His 50th high school reunion.
"It looked like most of the people were ready for the Grim Reaper. They were retired, life was not much to do except watch TV."
To be fair, Ross never really sat around, serving in World War II, the
Korean War and doing three tours in Vietnam. This former ranger transferred that discipline to this.
Ross does the high jump, the pole vault, the shot put -
"I do the 100 meter run, the 200, the 400, the 800, the three mile, the 10K."
His coach, a decathlete and professor at Morehouse, is 30 years his junior.
(You two good friends?)
"Very good friends."
"He told me, he said I've never had a woman friend before."
"Did I say that?"
Most of Ross' friends are younger because most of his friends are gone.
He runs a mile in a little over 10 minutes, 100 meters in 21 seconds.
And he's working to improve those times and has no plans to slow down.
"I would like to be doing this certainly when I'm 90 when I'll -- sounds maybe crude to say, there will be less competition. But that's a fact."
Also a fact, he's taught his coach as much as she's taught him.
"I'm learning so much from Charles, I'm learning about the grace of aging.
Everybody wants to be Charles. I particularly want to be him in 30 years."
Ross is also distinguished in his career off the track and field.
The Ranger Hall of Fame inducted him for his service in World War II and in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
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