'Half a glass of wine': Runner, 94, on the secrets of her longevity

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By Cristian Gherasim
Elena Pagu
Elena Pagu   -  Copyright  Credit: Cristian Gherasim

This runner from Romania is gearing to compete at an athletics championship... at the age of 94.

Elena Pagu, who only began jogging in her late 50s, wants to take part in the European Master Athletics Indoor Championships in Portugal.

It was postponed earlier this year due to the coronavirus outbreak and is set to go ahead in January 2021.

“Running for me is a way of life, more than a hobby," she told Euronews. "It’s something that I started doing at 57, after going into retirement to help fight off a drop in activity.

“I somehow felt depression creeping in as I was done with work and running became a good substitute.

"I got used to walking for long distances ever since I was a kid when to reach high school I had to walk 14 km each day.”

The nonagenarian, from Piatra Neamt in north-east Romania, has won countless medals and cups at running and race-walking contests across the world. But she says she cares more about just keeping active than all the silverware she amasses.

“I went to many countries and visited many places," she added. "When I compete I feel proud to represent my country

The secret to her longevity she says is - besides good genes - working, keeping active, being perseverant and a drop of wine.

“I am happy that at my age I don’t need to take medicine," she said. "What I do is drink half a glass of wine in the evening after dinner."