A rookie runner is lacing up for the Varsity Reds cross-country team, but Robert Jackson is anything but an inexperienced athlete.

Jackson, 57, is a lawyer, a full-time University of New Brunswick student and now he may be the oldest varsity sports athlete in Canadian inter-university sport history.

So far, 2012 has been a stellar year for Jackson. He has set provincial age class records in the 1,500 metre, the 3,000 metre, the 10K, the 10-mile and the half marathon .

That made him decide to sign up for enough university courses to qualify as a full-time student, which allowed him to be on the university's cross-country team.

Jackson said he really wanted to compete at the university level because he said there are few second chances at his age.

"The one thing it gives you, really the sense of urgency that you know that next year may not be as good as this year, so you have to work as hard as you possibly can now," Jackson said.

Tim Randall, the cross-country coach at UNB, said Jackson will be treated like every other team member and that includes the fact that he's off the team if he fails any of his classes.

"I'm hoping that won't happen," Jackson said with a laugh.