Marsha O’Loughlin will go to Paris this March, but not to snap photos of the Eiffel Tower. She’ll be running up its stairs instead.
O’Loughlin lives in a retirement community in Denton, Texas, though she doesn’t seem to have retired. She competes in a sport called tower running. As the name implies, it involves racing up skyscrapers, towers, and stadium stairs. She’s ranked first in her age group nationally and seventy-sixth among all women globally.
“I never take an elevator up a building unless it’s the only way up,” she says.
In preparation for the Eiffel Tower competition, O’Loughlin will run up the thirty-two floors (532 stairs) of the Wyndham Springfield City Centre in Springfield, Illinois next month. She intends to complete as many ascents of the building as possible in one hour, descending via elevator.
“People seem impressed with me,” she says. “I don’t think what I do is a big deal. It’s what I’ve been doing for years.” She does have a problem, however: “I wish I could find a good training partner, but it’s hard to find someone with the same goals at my age.”
Seek the character leading to enduring vitality
There are biblical precedents for Marsha O’Loughlin.
When Moses died at the age of one hundred and twenty, “his eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated” (Deuteronomy 34:7).
When Caleb was eighty-five, he testified, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for coming and going” (Joshua 14:11).
God uses young people like Joseph (Genesis 41:46) and elderly people like John on Patmos (Revelation 1). Our chronological age is no barrier to his empowering Spirit. Whatever he calls us to do, he enables us to do.
Our part is to seek the character that leads to enduring vitality.
The psalmist noted: “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:12–15, my italics).
How “righteous” will you be today?