By Tyler BIDDLE
Eighty-five year old Ira Karp has been running since 1941 and has now taken first place in three running events at the state-wide Senior Games in Pasadena held on May 28. He currently runs 10 miles a week and sticks to a strict health regimen to keep himself fit and ready for more races to come.
Karp is still going strong even if he has lost some of the spring in his step.
“I’ve started doing sprinting recently to try and get that spring back in my step,” he said. “I’m a health nut.”
He takes many supplements a day, eats a strict diet, and practices what he likes to call “horse sense,” which is using common sense to stay away from the bad stuff. That means no smoking, drinking, drugs or other harmful things. He closely monitors his own weight and body mass index, which he likes to keep at 22 or below.
Karp has also been a member of the Life Extension Society for over 25 years and is doing everything he can to reverse his aging process.
“We spend something to the tune of 12 billion dollars on national defense a week,” he said. “If we spent one tenth of that on biomedical research we could extend a person’s lifespan by decades.”
He speaks with some authority having worked in the field of science throughout his lifetime. His masters in nuclear physics led him to work for the government developing radiation detectors during the Korean War. Later, his Ph.D. in physics allowed him to pursue work with companies like Boeing and then a professorship that led to a teaching position for many years.
Now Karp is looking for a new job.
“We’re working on leveraging both his scientific background and teaching background to find him an appropriate job in some area of life-extension,” said his daughter Rabbi R. Reuel Karpov.
A year ago, it was a common sight to see Karp taking his wife Dr. Laenu Adelilah Greenberg Karp on runs around town. Karp’s wife used to live in a nursing home about 100 yards from his apartment and many times a week he would push her around town in her wheelchair on runs.
“She was stuck in this same room every day,” he said.
She also had a PH.D and was a teacher. She taught about Judaism at a local synagogue and Karp’s daughter, who is now a rabbi, was taught and mentored by her mother.
Ever since his brother passed away 10 years ago, Karp has vowed to live his life to the fullest.
“I think my brother was a millionaire,” said Karp. “But he had so many problems; he would worry about money and reputation. He smoked and he worried. Since then, I resolved not to worry.”
Mental health is a big part of Karp’s health regimen and he believes that it can help extend his life. Though he has lived a full and meaningful life already, it’s safe to say that Karp still has many years ahead of him.