BURLINGTON — Nearly every day, Twin Lakes Community Wellness Director Michael Cain watches 99-year-old William “Bill” Stanford run past his office.
“He’ll run the long distances (on the walking track) near the pool and then walk the short edges,” Cain said. “And he’ll be out here for usually an hour every day. He goes right by my office, and it’s a joy to see him go.”
Stanford was able to showcase his sprinting talents during the Alamance/Burlington Senior Games — of which he is considered a 100-year-old participant because he will turn 100 this year — at 7 a.m. Wednesday at Walter Williams High School. He finished the 100-meter dash in 1:30.
“I ran very poorly,” said the former track, football and basketball coach. “But I was the only 100-year-old running.”
Stanford has run his entire life, and said it’s been important to him to remain active throughout the years.
“I think it keeps you healthy, and, once you have a little success, you want to keep doing it,” Stanford said.
He’s been competing in the Senior Games for decades, and has participated in the local games for the last three consecutive years.
At the ripe young age of 82, Stanford placed third in the 100-meter dash at the national Senior Games in San Antonio, Texas, and held the 100- meter dash Senior Games record with a time of 16.3 seconds at 80.
Stanford’s son, William “Bill” Stanford Jr., came from Raleigh to watch his father race Wednesday, and joked his father constantly compares his current race times to his younger days.
“It makes me proud of him for what he is able to do,” said the younger Stanford. “And for the fact that he wants to do it. It is something that gives him a great deal of pride.”
When Stanford is not running, he takes care of his wife, Jewel, who also lives in Twin Lakes Community. The couple has been married for 74 years, as of this coming Saturday.
“She’s used to it,” Stanford said. “We’ve had a long life together, and she sees me run all the time.”
Cain called Stanford’s work ethic nothing short of remarkable and expects to see him run “like clockwork” every day.
“I can’t say just how inspirational he is to me, the staff and other residents,” Cain said. “He’s sort of like our celebrity in his efforts to remain physically active. He’s able to do it; we have no excuses.”
Stanford is the oldest participating senior in the games, said Alamance/Burlington Senior Games Coordinator Jane Smith, adding it’s the first time they’ve had someone reach the 100-year milestone.
“He’s just fantastic,” Smith said. “We look forward to seeing him every year.”
The Alamance/Burlington Senior Games continue through May 8.