May 5, 2022 - Sports

Meet "Rave Pops," a game-changing grandpa

Alan Grofé running with a smile and two thumbs up
Grofé running the St. Pete Beach Classic in 2020. Photo courtesy of Coyne PR

Alan "Rave Pops" Grofé can run better and party harder than most 20-somethings. And he's "only 77," as he puts it.

Driving the news: He's being honored at next week's National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, where he'll run the 5K Road Race.

  • He's one of 12 — out of 12,000 participating athletes — selected to be a Humana Game Changer — what the games recognize as "individuals who exemplify healthy aging and provide encouragement, motivation and inspiration for all to age actively."

His story: Grofé, a Vietnam War veteran who lives in Tampa, started his running career at age 45.

  • "I said 'What can I do (to exercise) that I don't need anybody? I went out the door and ran a quarter of a mile, died and came back," Grofé told Axios.
  • Four years after beating prostate cancer, Grofé ran in his first Senior Games in 2019, taking bronze in the 5K. He placed third in the 2021 Florida Games, which qualified him for the 2022 National Senior Games.
  • "It raised the bar just completely up above the level of local running I've been doing," he said of competing. "The challenge there is phenomenal."

How he does it: Grofé runs two to three times a week for 30 minutes, no more, no less.

  • He runs 12-14 races a year, sticking to 5Ks, which he says anyone can do, "big, small, old, young."
  • About seven years ago, he started to notice that, like many senior runners, he wasn't getting faster. But he could keep a steady pace. He's maintained a 9:15-per-minute mile ever since.

Of note: Grofé spoke to Axios on the phone from Washington D.C., where he's working on archiving the compositions of his grandfather, Ferde Grofé (known for his "Grand Canyon Suite") in the Library of Congress.

Grofé is also a nationally known raver who has draw flocks of admirers at music festivals from Vegas to D.C.

What he's saying: Grofé tells people he runs so he can dance.

  • "I love the example that being an older runner sets in society. I want to be a role model for that and in the EDM community. When you're in your 30s you decide, 'Oh that's what I did when I was kid. I don't do that anymore.' But I don't care."
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