A California centenarian is a world class athlete, setting five records in the San Diego Senior Olympics in September. He was the oldest athlete to compete and set new records for the 100-plus age group. He had celebrated his 100th birthday a month earlier in August and had not competed in two years.
Don Pellmann of Santa Clara, CA, set a record for his age group in the high jump – reaching 2 feet, 11 ½ inches. He became the first centenarian long jumper – reaching 5 feet, 10 inches. Pullmann was most pleased to break the record for the 100 meter dash, his main event, by running the course in 26.99 seconds. (The previous record was 29.83 seconds.) He set a new record for the shotput, throwing the sphere 21 ft. 6 ¼ in. (three feet better than the previous record). His fifth world record was in the discus. He made three throws, increasing his distance with each toss. The distance of his final throw was 48 feet, 9 inches. And Pullmann did all of this in a single day with temperatures nearing 100 degrees.
Pellmann, who is 5’11” and weighs 175 pounds, was a gymnast and high jumper during his youth. He was 70 years old when he heeded the urging of his children and began competing in the Senior Olympics. He has participated in 127 meets and won a medal in every one. He has 885 gold medals and five silver medals. In 2005, at the age of 90 years, he set seven age-group records at a two-day meet in Colorado. His secret to success is not complicated. “Keep active…that’s the main thing”, he said.