A Mission To Stay Active
Many familiar faces return to this year’s National Senior Games, including an astronaut!
It’s true - bioresearcher and oncologist Larry DeLucas beat out 50 other hopefuls to conduct experiments on the Shuttle Columbia in 1982. Read our extended Personal Best feature here.
DeLucas’ experience at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale in 2022 got him hooked into coming back this year. “For me, it was a lot of fun and I met new people on my basketball team,” he said. “Some of the people I participated with in the state of Alabama couldn’t come for Nationals, so you find new partners and that was great.”
DeLucas came to Pittsburgh to compete in Bowling and Cornhole. Although DeLucas has made trips to Pittsburgh for work related visits, this will be his first time enjoying what the city has to offer. Bowling is his main sport nowadays - a shoulder injury in space has affected his ability to shoot the ball. He hits the lanes year-round and travels to tournaments. He humbly confesses that his bowling scores have gone down due to age, yet DeLucas nearly clutched bronze during the previous Senior Games by 14 pins. When it came to trying Cornhole, DeLucas assumed it was like Bowling, both sports requiring underhand throws. After buying a professional cornhole board, he quickly realized that there was technique and some “umph” required to make the shots.
Aside from bowling and cornhole, DeLucas is a diehard basketball fan. Naturally, I had to ask him if he was satisfied with this year’s NBA finals. “No, I’ve always loved the Boston Celtics, and I was very disappointed, but I think part of it was their superstar sprained his ankle on the very first play… I wish I had been the trainer ‘cuz I would have made him tape his ankles.” Nonetheless, he did assure that Denver truly earned the big win.
Larry offers grounded advice to his generation: “I believe sports will make you live longer. My job requires me to sit in a chair and look at a computer all day. And so what do I do when I’m not doing that? Three nights a week I’m bowling, I run on a treadmill, you know just to stay active. That’s important.”
-By Kanney Wong
A Rosy Day for 261 Fearless
Glorious rose colored skies dawn on a crowd of more than 200 runners ready to participate in the 10K Road Race that was the opening event of the 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana. As impeccable as running a 10K is, the even more astonishing fact is that these runners are all 50 years old, aging up to 86.
Some of these runners run for reasons that come from a special place in the heart, a place that not only challenges oneself for themselves but to set an example for others to follow, and to live up to the same expectations set for you.
That is the story of Rosy Spraker and Patricia Winiecki, two runners in the 261 Fearless run club founded by Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially register and run in the Boston Marathon back in 1967. Rosy met Kathrine in 2007 at her first Boston Marathon, just after Kathrine published her book “Marathon Woman” (2007).
“She literally changed my life… she got over a million women running in 47 countries and over 250 races around the world,” Rosy said. (Switzer, who lives most of the year in New Zealand, was unable to compete due to a medical condition of her husband that would not allow him to fly.)
Rosy was inspired to start the Washington D.C. chapter of 261 Fearless where she spends her time inspiring women who wouldn’t think that they were runners, to run, just like Kathrine did to her. She said running with the club gives women a sense of empowerment, and a confidence that goes over into the rest of your life. Something that Kathrine intended, and something that for sure gets one out of bed every day.
Patricia Winiecki is the club director and president of the Los Angeles 261 Fearless chapter. The enthusiastic runner says that Kathrine is the person that inspired her to become fearless, a mentality that she says runs in all aspects of her life. “Kathrine has been my role model for my whole life. Being part of 261 Fearless is the greatest honor in the world. It’s a dream come true.”
-By David Altman and Isaiah Stewart
Flame Arrival Ceremony is TONIGHT!
This year’s Flame Arrival Ceremony promises to be one of the best in our history! The rooftop terrace of the David Lawrence Convention Center overlooking the city and Allegheny River will be a spectacular evening setting. The program begins at 7:30 p.m., but get there starting at 6 p.m. to reunite and celebrate with your fellow athletes.
Our hosts have prepared an entertaining program that includes a keynote welcome by former Pirates All-Star and World Series champion Steve Blass. Another highlight is a torch run that begins at the Willie Stargell statue by PNC Park, crosses the Rachel Carson Bridge into the convention center and will arrive at a cauldron specifically homemade in the Steel City. The run will be captured and shared live on the big screen for athletes to follow. Who will light the cauldron? Be there to find out!
Athletes will also enjoy welcoming Cherokee cyclist Simeon Gipson who will present gifts to Pittsburgh from the Cherokee nation after his 1,000 mile bike trek from Oklahoma to Pittsburgh. Gipson will share the reason for making the trip in a message that all athletes will understand.
The program will end with a jaw-dropping drone light show over the Pittsburgh skyline by Sky Elements. You won’t want to miss a minute of it!
SUNDAY: National Senior Games Block Party at The Terminal
SportsPITTSBURGH and The Terminal are joining forces to host a neighborhood celebration in the Strip District from 10am-2pm on Sunday, July 9!
Experience walkable Pittsburgh at the Strip District Terminal at 2101 Smallman Street, just minutes from Downtown. Browse the shops, grab a bite, play games, and listen to live music at one of the newest attractions in the Strip District!