You’re never too old to be a champion
Local resident Sarah Sneider from Arcadia won the gold medal in track and field long jump at the recent 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque. There were a record 13,712 athletes from all 50 states, plus Canada, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and more. The Games are an Olympic style event held every two years for those over age 50. With a 32 year history, it is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. It’s the “Olympics” for athletes over 50.
It was very inspiring to see 103 year old Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins from Louisiana run the 50 meters in 21.05 seconds for a new track and field world record. She also won gold in the 100 meters. She only started running at 100 years old after cycling for many years. Her advice was to “keep moving and doing. Always have something ahead of you that you’re looking forward to.” She is enjoying life at 103.
Well known actor and singer Pat Boone, at age 85, competed in basketball at the Games. He also appeared at Kimo Theater’s Growing Bolder event in downtown Albuquerque. When asked how he stayed so young he said it was three things: milk, exercise and a clean conscience. Then he explained, saying, “Long ago [I] switched to low-fat milk.” He also “eats nuts, lots of green, and beans.” On exercise, his grandpa told him “Use it or lose it.” He plays basketball regularly. And, thirdly, maintain a clean conscience with low stress and a positive mental attitude. At the Games, many records were broken, friendships were made, and the camaraderie among the athletes was outstanding. With the theme fitness, fun, and fellowship, from age 50 to 103, the Games are a great way to stay motivated to train, stay healthy and fit.
Here’s how you can compete in the National Senior Games:
- You must be 50 years or older.
- Select a National Senior Games Sport you enjoy. There were 20 different sports for medals in Albuquerque, including cycling, swimming, tennis, track and field, badminton, basketball, volleyball, golf, triathlon, softball, pickleball and more.
- Compete and qualify at a 2020 Senior Games State Meet in your selected sport. The Games are in all 50 states even Alaska and Hawaii.
- Next, the 2021 National Senior Games will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Prepare to join some wonderful athletes who are enjoying life, staying young, and having fun. “We don’t stop playing games when we get old. We get old because we stop playing games.” You can compete on the national level with consistent training, healthy eating, and a positive mental attitude. Go for it. You’ll be glad you did.