CLEARWATER, Florida, December 5, 2015 – The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) visited the kick-off ceremony for the 2015Florida Senior Games and recognized 90-year-old runner and swimmer Ryan Beighley of The Villages with a Personal Best Award. The opening ceremony also honored the Florida Senior Games’ 2014 Games Athletes of the Year, Walt Deal and Danuta Kubelik. Both are past National Senior Games competitors. On hand to congratulate all of the athletes was State Representative Kathleen
Peters and City of Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos.
Beighley has been competing in both Florida and National Senior Games since 2005, has earned numerous medals and is listed in NSGA Top Ten all-time age group rankings in three events. However, the award is given for more than athletic accomplishments.
NSGA has been presenting the Personal Best award to a handful senior athletes around the country each year who epitomize the positive qualities of fitness, perseverance and inspiration for others to pursue their own personal best lifestyle. “Ryan’s youth war experience and training to run and swim as a member of the Marine’s advance reconnaissance team set the tone for lifelong fitness,” said NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker. “Ryan always has a smile on his face. He has been a great ambassador to promote Senior Games to others and actively participates in his community’s senior track club helping others to achieve their goals."
True to form, Beighley brought laughs and smiles from the audience of more than 100 when Riker handed him the award plaque. “Isn’t it customary that the award recipient gets a hug of congratulations?” he wondered, turning to look back at Rep. Peters. She gladly complied with a laugh and a hug.
Feature profiles for Beighley and many other athlete honorees can be found on the Personal Best page at www.NSGA.com. "This tour and recognition program is intended to send a message out to aging adults to 'get in the game' and enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle and the rewards it brings," said Riker. "These athletes demonstrate that everyone can be their own personal best. The senior games movement offers fitness, fun and fellowship, but even if people don't want to participate in sports we want to encourage everyone to get out and get active in some way."
The National Senior Games is the world's largest multisport championship event for seniors and is held every two years, with athletes qualifying at member state games like the Florida Senior Games. The 2015 Games were held in Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul and featured nearly 10,000 athletes 50 and over in 19 medal sport competitions. Florida athletes came home with 362 medals, the third most among the states. The 2017 Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama.