Even as a non-elite who never stopped running, I understand where he is coming from in this article.
I ran okay times for a solid D1 program and dabbled in the marathon after college. PR is 2:28 for the marathon, 30:11 for the 10 and 14:26 for the 5k. Pretty mediocre, really, but you'd be surprised how many people bother me before races about how I am going to win - or worse - question me about why I lost a local 5k to a 14:35 guy who is 12 years younger than me. It just makes racing less fun because I am always losing to people who are "slower" than me (when I was their age).
I am in my mid-30s but have decided to stop racing for a while for these reasons. It all just bothers me. Not just what other people say, but what it makes me think about myself. I won't stop running, but I'll probably take a decade or so away from racing.
I have good buddies who seem to be okay with just getting slower, but it is hard for me. I don't really know why.