Colleen Slattery, Sports Editor
Have you ever had a day in which you woke up, looked out the window, and thought, “Ugh, there is no way I’m working out today”? If so, you’re not alone; even collegiate athletes sometimes struggle to find motivation for a hard workout day. What I’m about to relate to you, however, may negate even your best excuses not to work out.
Unbeknownst to many, the National Senior Games, which began in 1987, have been held biannually in the U.S. for the past 27 years. The idea for the event originated with a group of seven men and women who joined together for the purpose of promoting healthy lifestyles for the elderly back in 1985 in Saint Louis, Mo.
These seven men and women eventually formed the National Senior Olympics Organization, and the first National Senior Games were held in 1987 in Saint Louis. The event attracted 2,500 senior citizens, who competed in 15 different sports categories. The competitions included archery, cycling, golf, horseshoes, track and field, swimming, tennis, the triathlon and more.
Since its debut in 1987, the competitors in the National Senior Games have grown from 2,500 to an expected 12,000 for the upcoming games in 2015, which will be held in Minnesota. The number of events has also been raised from 15 to 19 over the years, enabling more and more athletes to compete in a variety of events. Annual competitions are now held throughout the U.S. in order to enable the athletes to make the qualifying times and marks for the biannual National Senior Games.
Although 50 is the minimum age to qualify for competition in the National Senior Games, some of the top times in the events are quite impressive. For example, Marge Ferris holds the record for the 5,000-kilometer run for women ages 65-69 with a time of 21:23, while Paul Heitzman holds the equivalent record for men with a time of 17:38. These times are impressive … even for 20-year-olds.
In summary, the National Senior Games are an inspiration to younger generations. The human body is amazing, and, with proper training and care, it can continue to function impressively for a long time. So, the next time you decide that it’s too hot or too gray or you’re too tired to work out, remember that you’re most likely being shown up by a 65-year-old woman who is out on a training run while you are watching Netflix in bed.