Forever Young: Elderly men and women who defy time

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There's an old adage, "age ain't nothing but a number," and all around us we see people who defy time. These men and women perform at levels way beyond their calendar years and remind the world nothing is impossible. Here are a few of our favorite people who will remain "forever young."

French cyclist Robert Marchand, 105, reacts after setting a record for distance cycled in one hour, at the velodrome of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, outside Paris.
Thibault Camus

Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike.

He proved that prediction wrong again in January.

In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category -- created especially for the tireless veteran -- by riding 22.547 kilometers (14.010 miles) in one hour.

"I'm now waiting for a rival," he said.

Marchand had ridden faster in the past on the boards of the Velodrome National, a state of the art venue used to host the elite of track cycling. But he had warned before his latest attempt that his current form was not as good.

"I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left," Marchand said after his effort. "Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I'm not tired. I thought my legs would hurt, but they don't. My arms hurt, you have to hurt somewhere."

French cyclist Robert Marchand, aged 105, cycles in a bid to beat his record for distance cycled in one hour, at the velodrome of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, outside Paris.
Francois Mori

Three years ago at the same venue, Marchand covered 26.927 kilometers (16.731 miles) in one hour to better his own world record in the over-100s category.

Still, impressed fans and chanted "Robert, Robert" during the last minutes of his ride. Marchand received a standing ovation once he completed the last of his 92 laps and was then mobbed by dozens of cameramen and TV crews.

Read more of his inspiring story here.

Amy Craton,94, of Honolulu, Hawaii is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother - and she's also a newly minted college graduate.

Craton first went to college in 1962, but put her education on hold to support her children.

Now in a wheelchair and hard of hearing, attending college on campus wasn't an option so she completed her degree online.

"You have to live. You have to learn as long as you can. Go to college, go to college. Don't be afraid of it," she said.

And she didn't just graduate - she did so with a 4.0 GPA.

Craton says she's happy to finally have her degree, but says she still has more to learn and so - she's going for her masters degree.

If you need some motivation to keep your New Year's resolution going strong, meet Ernestine Shepherd.

At 80 years old, she is regarded as the world's oldest competitive female body builder. She told our sister station WLS-TV in Chicago what inspired her to get on the path to fitness at the age of 56.

"My sister and I didn't like the way we looked in bathing suits, so after that, we said, 'We got to get fit!' So we started going to a gym and working out. That started the whole thing," Shepherd said.

Before that, she said she had been doing "absolutely nothing" to keep in shape.

Now, Shepherd has won several bodybuilding titles. She encourages people trying to get in shape to stay "determined, dedicated and disciplined."

For more information on Shepherd's latest competition, click here.