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What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the Ninety-Something Track Star Who Is Smashing Records and Outpacing Time, and What She Can Teach Us About How to Live
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What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the Ninety-Something Track Star Who Is Smashing Records and Outpacing Time, and What She Can Teach Us About How to Live

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  941 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
A fascinating look at the way we age today and the extent to which we can shape the process

In What Makes Olga Run? Bruce Grierson explores what the wild success of a ninety-three-year-old track star can tell us about how our bodies and minds age. Olga Kotelko is not your average ninety-three-year-old. She not only looks and acts like a much younger woman, she holds over tw
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published January 7th 2014)
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Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I think that this book should be read at the beginning of each new year in order to motivate you for the year to come. Olga is in her mid-nineties and competes in track events. Her health is good and her mind is focused. What makes her different from most every other ninety year old basically boils down to mind set. She eats a decent diet, most likely better than most of the younger generations, but with no hard-set rules. She doesn't take fancy supplements or subscribe to any philosophy except ...more
Clif Hostetler
This book explores the science of aging made personal and down-to-earth by following the life of Olga, a 93-year who excels in eleven different track and field events. The goal of the book is to answer the question, "What's her secret?" Along the way we learn about numerous health and wellness studies that provide clues to life style and diet changes that lead to a long healthy life.

I wasn't aware of the existence of Masters Track adult age-group track and field competitions before reading this
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in the science of aging, this is your book. It may look biographical because of the focus on 95-year-old track and field star Olga Kotelko, but not really. Instead, author Bruce Grierson uses Olga as a touchstone to guide us through the various theories on what makes people live longer lives (or not).

As you might expect, exercise and movement get a big shout-out. And not just aerobic/cardio exercise, either. Muscle work, too. The body is built for it, craves it even, and, as
Sandra Heinzman
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sport
This woman started exercising (started track) at 77, after being retired as a teacher for 12 years, and this book is inspiring/motivating/scaring me to start exercising again. After extensive research, it was found that exercise is the MAIN ingredient in living a long life and for health! And not exercising is very detrimental to your life span. I will review the book once I finish it. It's a MUST READ for ALL WOMEN!!

December 8, 2014:
I finished the book and IMMEDIATELY went back and started read
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am giving this book 5 stars not because of writing style,but because of the information presented and the unique topic. As both an avid runner and healthcare professional, I took a lot away from the information presented. I believe this story needs to be incorporated into the "health" curriculum at schools also.
This story is also inspiring. The lady in the story does not have super DNA that predestined her at birth to become who she is. I know some people are lucky and do, but she was
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read. Perfect blend of science and personal story. Grierson looks at all the factors that make Olga the amazing, incredible athlete that she is --she holds 29 world records in track and field. We all age -- but what that looks like for each of us varies a lot, and we have a tremendous amount of control over many of the factors. One of my favorite quotes from the book -"Break a sweat,daily and differently, with others." If you are interested in science, health, exercise, concepts of q ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great read about a great subject. I'd like to say this book changed my life, but time will be the judge of that. What I can say for sure is that I will never doubt what the human body is capable of ever again, at any age.
Bruce Sutherland
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I great self help book on how to stay physically and mentally healthy as we age
Dennis Mitton
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Olga Kotelko was an elite masters track star who, upon her death in 2014, at age 95, held hundreds of gold medals in track and field, none of which she earned prior to her 77th birthday.

In What Makes Olga Run? Bruce Grierson jumps head first into the life of Olga to try to understand what makes her tick. What he finds is that this extraordinary woman is, by most metrics, not very extraordinary. There is no magic here. For readers looking for super foods, esoteric yoga mantras, or exotic traini
James Banzer
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bruce Grierson's book What Makes Olga Run? presents an intriguing picture of Olga Kotelko, a Canadian who carries a ton of energy on her tiny frame. She is an athlete who has won a huge amount of medals in competitive track and field events. Those accomplishments are mentioned in such clarity as to provide inspiration to get moving. Add to Olga's athletic prowess the fact that she was born in 1919, and you have the stuff that makes for a fascinating narrative.

The thought occurs that Mr. Grierso
Deborah Martinez
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I saw this at the library last Saturday when I could not find the two books I wanted to check out on health and wellness, and noticed it was a librarian's "pick" so I grabbed it and thought, why not?

If you're interested in the science of aging, this is your book. The book focuses on 95-year old track and field star, Olga Kotelko. The book goes through Olga's life and uses it as one example of what makes people live longer lives.

Exercise physiology, brain health, psychology, nutrition, genealogy,
Donna  Napier
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed reading this book and feel as though it gave me an opportunity to meet this delightful and inspiring woman, Olga. She is my new hero!

Exercise physiology, brain health, psychology, nutrition, genealogy, faith, and friendships are among the many facets that that author explores in his quest to discover what makes Olga run - and throw and jump - so well, especially as she approaches her 95th birthday. Interesting facts and figures are woven between the entertaining anecdotes and storie
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Carola by: Susan Dudley
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating, funny, and informative. There is a treasure-trove of information here. Using one senior runner as the focal point, but introducing the reader to a number of other Masters athletes, the author addresses all of the varying factors that had to be in place for Olga to win the mounds of medals that she vied for: genetics, habits, personal history, psychological factors all play a part in her success. With a little bit of self-deprecation and amusing analogies, he keeps the facts from eve ...more
David Quinn
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’re interested in the science of aging this short book is worth your time.

The author takes us on his journey to discover the remarkable vigor of Olga and several other masters level senior athletes (but mostly Olga) where we learn (sort of) what makes them so unusual. (One of the athletes completed a marathon at the age of 80 at a time of 3 hours and 16 minutes.) The author writes with an easy style and Olga is someone you’d want to spend time with so it’s a very pleasant reading experienc
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
An inspiring book that has changed the way I look at aging. I don't know that the advice on how we can live longer was ground-breaking or particularly interesting, but the stories of athletes that are 70 years old and older brought smiles to my heart. It was particularly sobering to discover that there are men in their 80's running 10Ks with times under 45 minutes. Wow!
Allison E
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
This book changed the way I think about exercise in a lasting way. What really got me was the evidence that physical fitness has a huge protective effect on cognitive function in aging. If that's not motivating I don't know what is. A thought-provoking and inspiring read. This book should be required reading for life... I want everyone I know to read it!
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
A very interesting read about nonagenarian Olga Kotelko, who has world records in many track and field sports in her age group. The book focuses a lot more on the science of longevity and aging than on the sport of running itself. I was disappointed in how heavily the book focuses on evo-psych, social science research and anecdotes.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Integrate movement into your daily activities, the worst thing you can do is just stir still for hours. Walk to get groceries, take the stairs, stand up, move more...

Believe in yourself (growth mindset), have a support network of friends and family, be happy, be agreeable...

Selina Young
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
"Keep moving. Create routines (and then break them sometimes). Be opportunistic. Be a mensch. Believe in something. Lighten up. Cultivate a sense of progress. Don't do it if you don't love it. Begin now."

I want to be more like Olga.
Ellen Herbert
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best read of the year so far. Inspirational, educational and a fascinating read. I have a new role model and want everyone I know to read about her, what makes her tick and what we can all do to improve our quality of life. Will return to this one over and over, I believe.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Very inspirational. Easy enjoyable reading.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best nonfiction books that I have read in a long time. Thank you, Rich, for recommending it and sharing your copy with me!
Olga is an amazing woman. I learned a lot from her and from the research studies that she participated in. The author makes this book feel personal and conversational while presenting and analyzing scientific facts.
I do not wish to live to be 100. But I wish that my elderly years will be healthy - this book presents excellent opportunities for us to develo
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Helps reinforce the benefits of running and exercise. Thought it seemed a bit disjointed in approach, but overall had interesting tidbits of information. As a runner, I couldn't help but really like the idea of what Grierson was trying to do with this book, and also be inspired by these 90-year olds who are still competitively running.
Wendy Jenkin
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting commentary about an exceptional woman who started her athletic career well into her seventies, what motivated her, and the science behind it all. Olga is certainly a role model for us all - as we age we don't just have to do (and be) the same old things, but should always be exploring new possibilities, physically, mentally, psychologically.
Duncan Lock
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and inspiring

A fascinating and we'll written book. I'm intending to implement everything here in my life, so I think it had the desired effect. Also, my parents are getting a copy 😀
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This should be an annual must read. What a wonderful book. I seriously wanted to take notes and share tidbits with about everyone. Really fascinating, useful and inspirational.
Karen Martin
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I did not anticipate enjoying this book. Only reading it because it was a book club choice. But it is fascinating reading. A good mix of being scientific and being anecdotal.
Allie Joann
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really interesting book. It's a combination of science and self help about a lady named Olga who was earning track accolades into her nineties.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is a nice thought that one can continue to run in their 90s. I agree with the idea that long distance running may not be good for one's body over time. Moral of the story is to keep moving though.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I love me some awesome old people
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Around the Year i...: What Makes Olga Run?, by Bruce Grierson 1 10 Mar 18, 2017 10:21AM  
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“Keep moving. Create routines (but sometimes break them). Be opportunistic. Be a mensch. Believe in something. Lighten up. Cultivate a sense of progress. Don’t do it if you don’t love it. Begin now.” 1 likes
“We’re using this machine called the human body in ways that would void the manufacturer’s warranty.” 0 likes
More quotes…