Riverview man, 43, has Olympic dreams
At 43 most men are on the downside of their athletic careers. But Karlton Meadows, of Riverview, is hoping to overcome extremely long odds by training for the biggest track meet of his life. Meadows hopes to compete in the 2014 Olympic trials with dreams of making it to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "The only reason to go is for that gold medal," Meadows said.He hopes to get that medal in the 800-meter run. Meadows, a TRX instructor at Anytime Fitness in Brandon and Riverview, has participated in several track competitions around the world, including England, Qatar, Iceland and Spain. Last year, at a signing for a fitness book he co-authored, Meadows noticed a photo of Olympic runner Jenny Simpson holding the United States flag on a track and was inspired. Simpson is Meadows' mother's maiden name and the coincidence sparked the idea to train for the Olympics. "Since I never have achieved something at that level, I can't stop training and competing," Meadows said. "This is it. It's now or never." He was already sponsored by Injinji, a toe socks company. After therapy and visits to a chiropractor, Meadows noticed he was running just as fast as he did in high school. Although he ran hurdles in high school, Meadows' coach told him he should have run the 800-meter. Meadows trains at the University of Tampa and MacDill Air Force. He is still looking for a coach to help him prepare but he said he has received help from several trainers and doctors. Meadows received training and injury tips from Aaron Mattes, kinesiotherapist and rehabilitation specialist in Sarasota. Mattes, who has worked with Olympic champions and created active isolated stretching, said he has also helped Meadows with stretching because Meadows wasn't very flexible. "He's got ability, he just needs to work hard," Mattes said. Once Meadows began stretching for two hours, he said he was taking anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute off his running time. "I would much rather take the 30 minutes stretching and be two minutes faster in my longer runs," he said. Connie Swartzendruber, a trainer in Boca Grande, has helped him practice Mattes' stretching methods. For now, Meadows continues to practice and train. "I got a year to really step up," he said. Although he did not want to reveal his time in the 800-meter, his goal is to break the world record by running it in less than 1:40. Not an easy feat for someone in his 40s but Meadows remains confident. "With the 800 you just get out there and run," Meadows said.