Amazing photos of senior competitive track stars with all the right moves
They're breaking records and breaking a sweat.
They're athletes from all around the world — agile, limber, and fluid.
They move with grace and lightning speed, the wind in their hair ... or not.
They are the senior competitors of Masters Track and Field.
Masters offers athletes ages 30 and older the opportunity to compete in track and field events.
These athletes are informally known as the "retirement division," but don't be fooled — they have no plans to slow down.
Photographer Angela Jimenez captures these athletes in her project, "Racing Age."
A former athlete herself, Jimenez competed on the track team for the University of Pennsylvania in 1990s. She was drawn back to the track in 2007, when she heard about a Masters meet in Kentucky.
"I want it to be this beautiful homage to these athletes and their bodies."
In an interview with Upworthy, Jimenez described the stereotype disruption she hopes to create with her work: "To see someone who's 80, who's in the starting blocks with this look of absolute determination, in what you perceive to be a body that should be sitting in a rocking chair? It's really jarring. It's really paradigm shifting. That's what keeps me going back to photograph this."
Unlike in traditional sports photography, where speed is everything, Jimenez shoots on a manual camera.
Her Hasselblad film camera has no light meter, no autofocus, and only 12 shots per roll of film, a drastic change from the digital SLR cameras she's accustomed to using. And while Jimenez herself says the manual method can be kind of a pain, it's the perfect fit for this project.
With the slower camera and fewer frames, she has to plan ahead and be more deliberate in what shots she tries to capture. She explained, "I want it to be this beautiful homage to these athletes and their bodies."
In her years shooting "Racing Age," Jimenez has gathered plenty of insight about living well from her subjects.
As she learned in her years of photography and personal interviews, few of the senior athletes come to compete at Masters as former track stars or even as lifelong athletes.
"They don't all have the same story, especially women and especially people of color. Women who came up before Title IX and people who grew up in segregation," Jimenez said. "They haven't had all the privileges of being an athlete since they were six and doing it their whole lives."
But while their athletic origins vary, many of the athletes share a fierce competitive streak, avoid alcohol and junk food, and have a positive outlook.
Now she hopes to share their wisdom and athleticism with the world.
Jimenez is running a Kickstarter campaign to turn "Racing Age" into a hardcover photography book, complete with interviews. She also hopes to one day tour with the project and change the narrative around senior citizens, ageism, and how we treat our elders.
"I ... always wanted this book to be about putting ... positive ... stereotype-disruptive imagery out, where older people can benefit," Jimenez said.
And from the looks of it, they won't be the only ones.