The Long Run - January 2017
2017 Message From NSGA
As we enter a historic year for NSGA, CEO Marc T. Riker pauses to appreciate how far the organization has come. Make sure to follow the link below to read his entire message.
Happy New Year! To kick off 2017, it is time to reflect on what our organization has accomplished over the past four years, and to look forward to the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana coming to Birmingham, and the milestone it represents.
In 2012, while serving as Director of National Games for the National Senior Games the Board of Directors approached me about taking on the role of CEO. In that moment, all at once, I felt the excitement of the opportunity, the immense challenges, and the awesome feeling of responsibility to live up to NSGA's standards and to honor our mission.
Today, we can say both the challenges and the rewards have far exceeded expectations, and that NSGA is a stronger organization now. Here's a few highlights of our accomplishments in recent years.
2017 Registration Update: Sign Up Early and Save
Almost all 2016 qualifying games results have now been verified, so most athletes can now punch their ticket to the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Birmingham. Keep in mind that the early registration and discount deadline is February 28, with the final registration deadline on April 2nd.
- Notification- Qualified Athletes can register for the 2017 Games when the state(s) they qualified in are listed on the registration page at NSGA.com. States are listed as soon as all their results are submitted to NSGA and verified.
- Travel and Lodging- Make your travel plans and find the best lodging nearest to where you want to be on the Travel and Lodging page. National Travel Systems (NTS) is our experienced Official Housing/Travel Partner. NTS has negotiated the best rates, plus air and car rental discounts. The page will be constantly updated with the latest information and best deals.
- Schedules- All sports schedules are now available to view and download on the Competition Schedule page.
2017 Venue Snapshot: Triathlon
Oak Mountain State Park, located 30 minutes south of downtown in Pelham, is Alabama's largest state park, and one of the most beautiful with its stunning physical landscape. It also offers the widest varieties of outdoor activities of any state park.
The park has hosted numerous sporting events, including many triathlons. The Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon is now in its 31st year, and it has been an XTERRA American Tour triathlon venue for 12 years. Runner's World Magazine has honored it as one of the 25 best locations in the United States for trail running. This extensive history with its triathlon courses make it an ideal setting for our competition.
Athletes will find the course to be both challenging and enjoyable with its topography and beauty. Double Oak Lake is a very calm and picturesque setting. The Triathlon Sport Page has detailed information and maps available for download for each leg of the event, transitions, and parking.
Bon Appetite Spills the Beans on Birmingham
BonAppetit.com is yet another online resource that is praising the high points of Birmingham. Writer Elyssa Goldberg interviewed Birmingham's Trevor Newberry of Urban Standard to get his take on what to see and do in the piece entitled "Spilling the Beans." Newberry recommends many hidden gems and local favorites, such as the weekend Market at Pepper Place and the Birmingham Museum of Art. He cites several eating options, names The Collins Bar and Lou's Pub as his picks for watering holes, and points to live music venues Saturn and Iron City. Newberry also spilled the beans on secrets such as Nana Funks and Gip's Place. You'll just have to read the article to learn about them.
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Banner Year, Bright Future
Spectators and the media frequently spend more time lauding the accomplishments of our oldest athletes, and they are truly worthy of the attention. On the other hand, there are also equally impressive performances in the youngest sport age divisions.
Case in point: Maine sprinter Sue McCarthy, whose first appearance at the 2015 National Senior Games presented by Humana produced five gold medals, including the 50, 100, 200 and 400 meter races, plus the 4x100 relay. The individual sprint times all landed Sue in NSGA's all-time Top Ten Performance lists, including #1 in the 50 meter and #2 in the 400 meter races.
That's just part of her blazing track year. "In 2015 I met almost all of my goals," she says. "I ended up with nine national titles in all, so to be able to stay spot-on and keep my focus was incredible." Her other conquests came from events in USA Track & Field indoor and outdoor national masters championships. The organization recognized her as a 2015 Athlete of the Year for the 50-54 age group.
Running has been a part of Sue's life, although she almost didn't take her talent to the track. "In junior high I wanted no part of competition because I had never done it before," she recalls. "When I didn't make the softball team in high school, I ended up backing into track." With a laugh she adds, "The rest is history, I guess."
Sue proceeded to set high school records, and was a four-time NCAA Division III All American with SUNY-Cortland and Stony Brook University. "After college, I lost having a track venue, so I started doing road races," she continues. "I only got back into track at 46 doing masters and corporate track events. I turned some heads, and then got on a team. When I turned 50, I was able to join the big kid's table in Senior Games too."
College also produced a career as a psychotherapist for Sue, currently with a community mental health center. Does she feel that her profession helps get her mentally prepared for competition? "Oh sure. Being active produces chemicals in your brain that influence a positive upswing in mood, reduces depression, and increases your energy levels," she explains. "Your mind and body both benefit in a healthy way from athleticism. In addition, there is a spirituality involved, connecting with like-minded people and being supported by your friends who compete with you. It is quite a bond, a celebration of life. There's nothing better."
Even at her age, Sue says people already continually approach her to say what an inspiration she is for them. "It seems to happen over and over," she adds. "I am proud to say I live a happy, clean and healthy lifestyle, and I believe my life purpose is to motivate and inspire people to be healthy as well."
The speedster is grateful to see a future full of more races and goals. "It's a wonderful perspective to think this is here for me as long as I want to do it."
We're always looking for great athlete stories! Submit yours, or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you. Click here for the submission form.
Senior Health and Wellness
Step Up Your Game in 2017
It's that time of year again, when people resolve to improve themselves. Getting physically fit is one of the top goals, but many are frustrated with their efforts and fail to follow through. As a senior athlete, you may be well motivated to pursue a healthy fitness and nutrition lifestyle, but there's always something new to learn. Also, many of the people around you struggle to find what works for them.
NSGA and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) now offer the "Step Up Your Game" resource portal, available for free access through NSGA.com (see link below). The special ACE/NSGA section contains informative and science-based articles and videos, tools and calculators, workout and training programs, and much more. You can even find certified professionals in your area as an option to take your activity to the next level.
As one example, we found a feature in the Expert Articles section titled "How Can I Make Sure I Meet My Fitness and Nutrition New Year's Resolutions" by Jessica Matthews, a leading fitness expert, writer and educator who is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. The article is packed with useful information and links. While we can't link directly to content on the site, here are two Youtube video links Matthews offers within her discussion:
This just scratches the surface of the exclusive content to be found on the portal. All you need to do is to set up a unique login account the first time you visit. Then, you may sign in whenever you like and discover the wide array of resources ACE is making available to the Senior Games Movement.
New Senior Athlete Blog
Dave Kirgan, a Kentucky race walker who was featured as our April, 2014 Athlete of the Month, has been prolific in posting his thoughts on social media. Dave has now started a blog page called Panda Defiance to share his motivational messages and tips. The blog is now linked on our Senior Games Blog Page. Check it out, and if you are a senior games athlete publishing a non-commercial blog page, we'd like to hear about it. Email your link to [email protected] for consideration.
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
New Year's Resolution: Get Senior Games Gear!
When you look good, you feel good. Starting 2017 in style should be on your list of things to start the new year.
There are new designs on our online store for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. Some feature the official logo, and there's a fun shirt displaying the phrase "Senior Athletes are Off Their Rockers!" that might tickle you as well.
It's easy to order wearables with 2017 Games and other motivational images and logos at our online store. Simply click on either the NSGA or 2017 logo to find the various apparel types, then click "Personalize" to position and add the artwork you want onto your selection.