Vicki Fox, 56, Huntington, New York
People not familiar with the Senior Games Movement often assume that all of the athletes have been active in sports for their entire lives, or at least were once elite athletes who returned to compete as seniors.
While this is true for many who participate, especially for those who qualify for the National Senior Games, the truth is that a significant number are people who have seized the opportunity to take up competitive sports in midlife and pursue fun, fellowship, and a higher level of fitness for life. Some “newbies” also discover they are more talented and medal-worthy than they ever imagined. New Yorker Vicki Fox is one of these.
Five years ago, the resident of Huntington on Long Island had never set foot on a track. “I initially began running for fitness in early 2010 at 51 when my kids became independent in high school,” she recalls. “My daughter, then 16, decided she wanted to train for an Ironman and convinced me to start running too. So we began training together.” By the end of the year Vicki had run 24 road races and was surprised to discover how fast and competitive she really was. She joined the Northport Running Club and learned about opportunities with masters track meets and senior games on Long Island and beyond. Her first meet was in July 2011 at a USA Track & Field Long Island meet that offered masters age divisions. By year’s end, she completed 37 races and began racking up the awards and setting several USATF Long Island records for her age group.
“I researched other opportunities to run track meets and set my sights for the Empire State Senior Games upstate in Cortland, and to do well enough to qualify for my first National Senior Games,” she says. “The senior games became a catalyst to my drive for excellence in fitness and competition.”
She easily qualified and continued her learning curve with training and blazing track performances. In March, 2013, Vicki tested her mettle at the USATF Masters Indoor National Championships in Landover, Maryland. In seven events, she gathered two individual third place finishes, and then celebrated a first place 4×400 win and a second place in 4×200 with her relay team. On to Cleveland.
At the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana, Vicki captured Gold in both the 400 and 800 meter events and took Bronze in the 1500 meter race. In the process, she etched her name in the NSGA Top Ten Performance records, placing #6, #2 and #6 rankings all time respectively. Back home, Vicki would later be named USATF Long Island’s 2013 Female Masters Athlete of the Year – and earn the same recognition again in 2014.
Vicki is eager to go for more gold in Minnesota this summer. She has also become a passionate ambassador for senior fitness and is now USATF Long Island Masters Vice-Chair. “I want nothing more in this next phase of my life than to encourage older adults to start exercising, pick a sport or two, and simply get active. You can start anything at any age with desire and determination. I’m proof of that.”