Linn Dunton, 56, Pine Valley, California
In August of 2007, Linn Dunton of Pine Valley, California was enjoying a full life as a teacher, track coach, wife and mother of four. With one phone call she was thrown into a battle for her life with a diagnosis of breast cancer. She says she put it into remission “with hard work, determination, discipline, a radical lifestyle change, surgery and much prayer.”
It was a difficult year as Linn, now 56, had to give up her 12 year stint of coaching and then lost her mother, Sally Polk, who had been her high school track coach and a world class senior thrower before a leg amputation ended her career. “She was self taught and did not start throwing until she was in her 50’s. We enjoyed competing in two Masters National Championships together. My father was also a senior thrower and is one of my greatest supporters.”
Upon attending her mother’s memorial service in New Mexico, Linn found her mother’s throwing equipment. She was inspired to restore them and begin competing again. The doctors did not think she would be able to throw after her surgery, but Linn persevered and is now in her fifth year throwing hammer, shot, discus, javelin and weight throw in masters and senior games.
“I began training and competing with my mother’s implements. It was a very emotional moment as I stood on the victory stand to receive my Javelin Gold Medal at the 2010 Indoor World Games in Canada. The journey to that victory stand had been made possible by the love and support of my family, friends and other senior athletes. Every time I train and compete I know I am making my mother and father proud.”
The 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana will be her first. She will have a final tune up in New Mexico with her sister, Sani Withers, herself a former collegiate
thrower and high school coach. Her ailing father, Gene Polk, will also be there for the big send off. She is excited to share this experience with her roommate, Linda Cohn (American record holder in javelin). “I am thankful to the NSGA for providing opportunities for athletes like myself to do what we love, to make new friends and to encourage and inspire others along the way. Let the fun begin!”