Running Into Old Age [55-Minute Lesson]

 Written by Staff




I. Warm-up

A. Conversation

1. What comes to mind when you think of old age?

2. What are the positives and negatives of growing old?

3. After reading the title of today's lesson, what do you think the article will be about?


B. Vocabulary

Matching exercise: Words/Expressions

1. pensioner (n.)

2. distinctive (adj.)

3. humble (adj.)

4. deterioration (n.)

5. centenarian (n.)



a. the act or process of becoming worse

b. a person who is 100 years old or older

c. a person who receives a government pension

d. different in a way that is easy to notice

e. not proud; not thinking of yourself as better than other people


II. Reading

Directions: Before reading the article, preview the comprehension questions that appear after the reading. 


A. World's oldest marathon man, 102, can't imagine life without running shoes

Click here for the CNN article by Gary Morley. We'll read down to the paragraph that starts with 'It was not accepted by Guiness World Records'.


B. Comprehension Questions

1. Why did Fauja Singh take up running? What has his experience with it been like?

2. What was Singh's early childhood like? What traumas and sorrows did he have?

3. How has running improved Singh's physical condition?

4. How did he develop his running skills?


III. Grammar

A. Adverbials

Adverbials are adverbs, adverb phrases, and adverb clauses that modify the sentence or verb. Below are a few examples from today's reading.

"Then I took up running..." [adverb]

In his late 80s... he took up marathon running. [adverb phrase]

"When I took up running, it was like meeting God himself." [adverb clause]

At an age when most pensioners are winding down their lives, Fauja Singh began a new one. [adverb clause]


B. Exercises: 

Sentence Combinations

Directions: Combine the sentences with an adverbial.

1. My wife and oldest son died. I took up running on a daily basis.

Example: After my wife and oldest son died, I took up running every day.

2. I began running marathons. I was 80 years old.

3. Most people are winding down. Some people are trying out new things.

4. I enjoyed life to the fullest. I did a bit of traveling.


Targeted Speech 

Directions: Describe a change you made in your life. Be sure to use some of the following adverbials in your sentences.

1. When...

2. At first...

3. Realizing...

4. After...

5. Then...

6. At an age/time/place when most people..., I...




IV. Vocabulary Review

In your country, how do many pensioners spend their lives?

What distinctive features does someone you know have?

Who do you know that had a humble upbringing?

What types of bodily deterioration do the elderly experience?

Would you want to live to become a centenarian?


V. Wrap-up

A. Conversation

1. What effect does Fauja Singh's story have on you?

2. What do you see yourself doing when you retire?

3. What words of advice would you offer to someone who was retiring?


B. Writing

Directions: Write one paragraph summarizing today's reading. Use the new vocabulary words in your writing.


III. Possible lessons for next class

1. Title: Why Kenyans Make Great Runners

    Skill Area: Reading and Speaking; Grammar-Numbers and Figures

    Click here to reach the lesson. 


2. Title: Happiness and Success

    Skill Area: Reading and Speaking

    Click here to reach the lesson. 



Photo credits:,_Agra_10.jpg







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