What is the secret to being a record-holding athlete at age 90? In this brief interview, Mike Fremont explains his secret to longevity.
At age 90, marathoner Mike Fremont will tell you how he ages ‘racefully.’ Even today, Mr. Fremont runs record-setting marathons and races river canoes. He attributes his vigor to his strict macrobiotic diet which he credits for his recovery from cancer.
Founder of Rivers Unlimited and Friends of the Great Miami, Mr. Fremont is a protector of rivers. He has been on the lookout for ill-conceived development proposals along the rivers of southern Ohio since the 1970’s.
Mike believes that rivers must be protected to preserve environmental quality for animals and humans. Mr. Fremont’s environmental activism has been guided by the principle that if rivers are kept clean from sewage, debris, and major development, that the clean natural resource they represent will encourage economic growth and preserve a higher quality of life for local residents, wildlife, and tourists alike.
For Mr. Fremont, whether in athletics, river activism or in relation to his own health, a clean environment and personal well-being have always gone hand-in-hand.
Huey Johnson: What is your secret for being 90 years old?
Mike Fremont: The fact that I got cancer when I was 70, that’s the secret of it. My son out here who as I said is almost 60, sent me a book in 1985 called The Cancer Prevention Diet and I thanked him for it and said “Why are you sending me this?” He said “You may need it some day.” And five years later I did.
Huey Johnson: Wow.
Mike Fremont: And I read the book when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was colo-rectal cancer. I was given 3 months to live and I told the doctors “I don’t want to be operated on yet, I want to try something else,” so I went on a strict macrobiotic diet and after a year I had significantly shrunk the tumor. I stalled it for 2 years and 3 months and so I thought that was very beneficial of the diet to do that for me and I’ve never departed from that diet, which is effectively a vegan diet. As a result, I became heavily experienced. I did a lot of reading on diet and health and was a guinea pig in it myself because at the age of 88, I had built my running up to the point where I hold the world record for 88 year-old men marathoners.
Huey Johnson: You’re a living experiment.
Mike Fremont: I’m one, yeah because I had arthritis and I would have headaches and stomach aches and colds and I thought that was a matter of course. Twenty-one years, I haven’t missed a day. I realize there are a lot of things that if we changed our diet to avoid animal protein, we would save enormous amounts of energy. We would save an enormous preventative, enormous amounts of pollution. The public health costs would dwindle like that. More than 50% of greenhouse gasses are generated from livestock production. That’s a huge reason to change diet. You’re better for the environment to change your diet than changing your Hummer for a Prius, that’s the expression.
A lifetime of doing the American diet will kill you. It just, you think its normal that you die when you’re 70, 75, 80, but I think that with what we know today we could aspire to live 120 years with full faculties.