The masters athletics phenomenon inspired many with his ‘age is just a number’ attitude

Dr Charles Eugster, the world record-breaking masters athlete who inspired many with his ‘age is just a number’ attitude, has died at the age of 97.

Eugster, who competed only last month at the World Masters Championships in Daegu, passed away on Wednesday evening from complications following heart failure, his publicist said.

“Charles never sought physical immortality but he wanted to ‘change the world’, to make advanced old age a different experience… one that could be exciting, useful and fulfilling,” read a statement released by Tarsh Consulting, who represented Eugster. “At this, he led by example and magnificently over-achieved until the very end of his remarkable life. His legacy, however, will live on, having inspired thousands around the world.”

Born in London in 1919, the former dentist only took up rowing and bodybuilding in later life when he sensed his fitness fading.

In 2014, at the age of 95, he also turned to sprinting and was a world record-holder in both the M95 indoor 200m, with a time of 54.77, as well as the M95 outdoor 400m, for which he clocked 2:21.46. Eugster also held British records in a number of other events, including the long jump both indoors and outdoors.

His British indoor M95 long jump record of 1.29m was set at Lee Valley last month, when he also claimed the British M95 60m title.

In 2014 he spoke with AW to share the secrets of his success, which you can read here.

Eugster was also the reigning Strenflex World Champion in the 80+ category and the holder of the Van Der Merwe Cup, while he won over 120 rowing events, including 46 masters gold medals, and he competed three times at the Henley Royal Regatta.

His book, Age is Just a Number, was published earlier this year, and he promoted it with the catchphrase ‘you are never too old to try something new’.

His son, Andre, said: “We fully supported Dad in his endeavours and aside from our personal loss it is so sad that he passed away at the height of his success. He wanted to inspire the world.”