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'It's incredible': Edmonton man setting track and field records at 90


An Edmonton man regularly sets new track and field records, including recently breaking the record for oldest male hurdler in Canada.

Arnold Nett is 90 years old, and has been competing in track and field for nearly four decades.

"I did some track and field in high school, but then after high school there was really nothing really that you could do until age 55 or so when Alberta Senior Games started, so then I got involved in track and field again from then on," he told CTV News Edmonton.

Nett trains twice a week at Kinsmen Sport Centre.

He does 90 minutes of general track training, followed by an hour of hurdles training.

"You’re hurdling at 90?" CTV News Edmonton photographer Galen McDougall asked Nett. "Yeah, sure!" he replied.

"It’s hard. You have to really train for it."

His hurdling coach says Nett is one of the most inspiring athletes he's ever met.

"It’s incredible. It’s always inspiring to coach talented athletes of any age, but this is the first time I’ve coached an athlete of Arnold’s age, and it’s very inspiring," Jackson Hinton said. "Being a hurdler myself, it just kind of opens the door for a lifetime of doing the event that I love as well."

"Hurdles is one of the most technically demanding events in track and field, and the fact that he’s doing it at 90 years old is absolutely stunning to me. I’m genuinely inspired every time we work on it," he added.

Arnold Nett and his hurdling coach Jackson Hinton.

Nett says he's drawn to track and field because of the friendships.

"It’s comradery with the other runners, and it’s good. We get together once in a while, we go for pizza sometimes."

But he also has a healthy competitive streak.

"I don’t know how many competitions I’ve been in, but I did, at one time, take a picture of my gold medals, and I wasn’t too sure how many I had, and I had about 103 gold medals."

He says his favourite gold medal was won in the triple jump at the World Masters in Sydney, Australia.

"It was nip and tuck between myself and a fellow from Australia."

"After the fifth he was ahead by a few metres, so I thought, ‘OK, this is it. The final jump.' And then the final jump I beat him and won the gold medal," he said with a laugh.

He says hitting the track keeps him feeling young.

"When you wake up in the morning and you’ve got to get up and you start loosening up. That’s hard sometimes in the morning. To loosen up, and sometimes by noon to maybe go outside and run around the block."

"I feel that the longer seniors keep fit and keep active, the longer you can stay out of hospitals and nursing homes."

Arnold Nett trains for hurdling at the Kinsmen Sport Centre in Edmonton.

He says he's hoping to see more people his own age join him on the track.

"I find that there are more and more older people in the older age groups now. Fifteen, 20 years ago there was very few in some of my age groups, whereas now there are more in the older age groups."

Nett says he recently set records for pentathlon, 60-metre hurdle, and the high jump.

As for how he celebrates?

"Go home and have a bowl of soup."

"I make my own soup. I’ve got a recipe for it, with the vegetables and carrots and celery and everything else that goes into it."

He says he plans to stay active as long as his body will let him.

"Are you going to be doing this at 95?" McDougall asked Nett.

"If the legs hold out, and if the heart stays the way it is, probably!" Nett replied.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Galen McDougall. Top Stories

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