Q&A with Colleen Milliman

Colleen Milliman, born 8/21/26, 5 feet, 1/2 inch, 105 pounds, is the first woman over 90 to record a time for the track mile (indoors or out) at the 2017 Hayward Masters Classic, clocking 13:26.46. (Please pause and reflect on that historic, astonishing accomplishment.) That was also a personal record for the mile, having started her track career in 2017. Born and raised at altitude (6000′) in Utah, Colleen moved to Oregon in 1950. Raised two sons, Greg and Roger, Greg now living in Oregon and Roger in Washington. When 75, Colleen decided she needed more exercise and joined the Obsidian walking club, and loved the hiking, in town and in the Cascades. But what is life if not continuing to improve, master new challenges, have more fun…?

1. Can you walk (or run) us through the experiences and thought process that got you racing at age 90?

Always active, and loving to walk and hike, my grandson Carl noted I walked faster than most older folks could run. So we checked it out at a high school track in Springfield, and he was right. A few months later I ran the mile at the Hayward Classic. On the last lap I was dead last, and hugely disappointed, embarrassed that I was holding up the meet, until people started clapping…

2. Your second race, a few months later in Portland, is another fascinating story. What happened, and what is your next race?

I ran a world record in the 800, 6:16.55, but it was not accepted because the race was not clocked to a thousandth of second. I will race the 800 again, this time at the Hayward Classic on May 6th.

3. Any other coaches besides Vin Lananna and Ian Dobson at the Sunday morning hour at Hayward Field? Do we need coaching?

My personal coach is Megan Patronelli. I’m also learning a lot from Vin Lananna and Ian Dobson about form, techniques and interval training at the Sunday morning Tracktown sessions at Hayward Field. …We all need coaching, a second opinion.

4. What is your workout schedule? Any diet tips for the younger crowd, that is, the rest of us?

I’m at the In Shape Gym thrice weekly. In addition I ride a stationary bike four times a week, do 75 squats daily, and walk 2-3 mile a day, sometimes with son Greg’s leashed Akita (95lb) dog who tries to run as often I allow her to do so …Eat moderately. No junk.

5. You run on a replaced knee and with a post surgical back. Thoughts and advice on strenuous activity by seniors?

Be careful. Know your body and heed its warnings. Resting and healing as necessary. Icing is good. I take no medications.

6. Future race plans?

400, 800, and the mile. As long as I can. I plan to live to age 125.

7. What are some of the tough choices you’ve made that made you who you are?

Deciding to work through arthritic pain and to always keep moving no matter what.

8. Best decision you’ve made in your running career?

Joining the Tracktown USA community and receiving all the support and enthusiasm.

9. Advice to your younger self at age 75?

You’re never to old to try and pursue new adventures. I started climbing mountains, McLaughlin at 75. Diamond Peak at 77, and the Santos in the Swiss Alps at 80.

10. Quotes you live by, or quote often?

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. Laughing at yourself is therapuetic. Laughing is my medication.

11. What coaching advice/routine you believe in that most would think crazy?

10 minutes every day on the Noblerex K1 whole body vibrator. Used by the Soviet cosmonauts. And works for me. Google it. Or just say I’m crazy.

12. Things that make you grumpy?

Negative thoughts. Negative people.

13. Books on your night table?

Out of Nowhere by Jeff Hollister (first Nike employee, now deceased). Kenny Moore’s Bowerman And The Men of Oregon. By the way, I knew Bowerman. My employer was his personal physician and friend. Bowerman would come in whenever he wanted, without an appointment, and almost always got in quickly to see his friend and otherwise upset the schedule. He was an amazing, very strong personality, and knew how to treat his athletes, with kindness or toughness, whatever it took.

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