HUMANA Hero: Carroll Marty, 82, Ames, Iowa
At Your Service
Carroll Marty has found the key to happiness and longevity, and it’s the same for all senior athletes: just keep moving. However, the 82-year-old has taken it to a level where it’s hard to keep up with the Iowa native and longtime resident of Ames.
It’s not that he’s been a lifelong competitive athlete; that really began 30 years ago when he entered his first all-ages Iowa Games, and in the Iowa Senior Games when they were created two years later. He hasn’t missed a year of competing in badminton, racquetball, track and other sports in his home state games. He’s visited games in neighboring states-we found him helping tape down badminton courts at the Minnesota Senior Games in 2014-and he has brought home several medals from his treks to nine National Senior Games starting in 1995.
Carroll’s distinguishing characteristic is that he likes to stay active by volunteering to help others and improve life in his community. “I’ve always been this way, probably more so since I retired in 2000 after selling insurance for 35 years,” he observes. “I’m a handyman and always doing something, whether it’s for the Iowa Games, Iowa Senior Games or with my Kiwanis Club. A lot of my volunteer work involves light construction, welding and building things. I like to work and accomplish things.”
His contributions are appreciated. He built the disc golf course in Ames, and in gratitude the city named it after him. Carroll has constructed and painted more than 40 award stand blocks, a climbing wall, a torch holder, and even built a loft in the warehouse attached to state game’s office, among other tasks. “Carroll is always a guy we can count on,” says Kevin Bourke, COO of the Iowa Sports Foundation.
Because of his steady athletic participation for multiple sports, and service as a volunteer and event director, he was inducted into the Iowa Senior Games Hall of Fame in 2013. He was also honored as the Iowa Games Athlete of the Year and the National Congress of State Games Male Athlete of the Year in 2012.
Carroll’s athletic pursuits have also inspired his own family. In 2014, his wife and all of their children and spouses-one dozen strong-participated in Iowa Senior Games as an early celebration for his 80th birthday. “Everybody got a medal, and we even set some records,” he recalls. “We had a great time.”
Badminton and racquetball are now his main sports, and he is the current badminton director for the Iowa Senior Games. “So many people in the United States don’t know what badminton really is. They think you’re in the backyard dinking a birdie back and forth, but it’s really the fastest racquet sport. I’m told good players can hit it over 200 miles per hour coming off the racquet. Not me, but I can hit it pretty hard once in awhile.”
The bottom line is simple for Carroll. “This activity keeps me healthy,” he says. “If you don’t do stuff, you lose your muscle tone and get flabby. Then you have all kinds of problems. I enjoy doing all of this.”