More than 15,000 athletes over 50 competed in track and field events, plus softball, tennis, pickleball, swimming and more.
Thousands of competitors were well into their 70s, 80s and 90s. The oldest was 103!
Some athletes have been active their entire lives and see no reason to let age slow them down. Others are relatively new to fitness and exercise. And many overcame injury or illness to be strong enough to compete.
With family and friends in tow, they supported each other, made friendships, and built community – proving yet again the valuable social aspects of physical activity.
We hope their stories inspire you to get fit, stay fit and enjoy living your life to the fullest at every age.
‘You Gotta Keep Moving’
Maxine Dickerson, 66, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, competed in the shot put, javelin and discus. This was her second National Senior Games. “I like the camaraderie of being around the athletes,” she said. “You gotta stay active. You gotta keep moving. My mom always told me: Keep moving. Now I tell kids and people in my age group to keep active.”
Making Friends, Even from Competitors
Bill Hoffman, 72, of Pennsylvania and Shui-Kim Ng, 77, of Toronto competed against each other in doubles badminton and were having a great time after. (Bill said he didn’t even mind losing the close match.)
Kim, retired from the city finance department, has played the sport since he was 10. “If you stay fit doing something that you love, then you will see your enthusiasm grow,” he said.
Bill taught physical education at a high school – as did his father and grandfather, and as his son does now.
Longevity also runs in the family.
“They told me I’m going to live to be 100, so I’ve got to stay in shape,” he said. “To stay fit, you have to exercise and work your body, and do it regularly.”
Long Distance, All Right
Long-distance runner Jane Lanford, 64, came all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska, for the competition. Her cousin Dick Stacy, 73, is a swimmer who lives in Albuquerque. Jane, an accountant, runs several times a week outdoors – even in winter, when temperatures in Fairbanks can get down to 40 below zero. Jane has run dozens of marathons across the country.
All in the Family
Rowena Murray brought her extended family as a support group. Her husband, adult kids and others wore T-shirts that said, “Run, Rowena! You Got This, Girl!”
Rowena, 59, in green above, raced in four events and says sports and fitness have always been a part of her lifestyle. She regularly lifts weights and participates in cross-fit classes.
“You have to take care of yourself,” she said, proud to be an inspiration to her kids and other people in her age group. “You only get one body.”
The next National Senior Games will be in two years. Learn how to participate here.