Susan Adams Loyd, 56, Edina, Minnesota
When Susan Adams Loyd competes in senior track events, she proudly sprints in an official University of Minnesota women’s track team uniform complete with her name on the back. She jokingly tells people “I’ve got four years of eligibility left – I redshirted for 38 years!”
Fact is, the uniform represents a bond that developed when she was asked to talk to the collegiate lady athletes about opportunities for lifelong fitness and sports. “I expected a small group and there were over 100 people from the athletic program in the auditorium,” she recalls. “I’m glad I prepared for a speech.” Susan impressed the team so much that a box containing the uniform arrived early the next spring. “They dedicated their season to what I represent and made me an honorary member of the Minnesota women’s track team. How cool is that?”
By just being herself, Susan is now inspiring her entire community. The local host committee representing Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul named the prominent broadcasting and advertising executive as a co-chair for the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana.
“I hope to serve as a good model. Part of the reason I’m doing this is because I think it impacts people’s lives, individually and collectively. In this role I can advocate for people, especially seniors, to lead healthy lifestyles.”
Susan, now 56, carried a regret for many years. While she expressed her athletic skill as a competitive figure skater through age 20, she really loved to run but was prevented from pursuing her passion because her high school had no girls’ track team. “It was pre Title IX and girls weren’t thought of as athletes. Skating was one of the few sports I could participate in. It was a common thing for girls of my generation to do here in Minnesota. Plus, my mother thought it was a ‘feminine sport’ which was important to her.”
“Not being able to run track was a lingering disappointment for me. Now, fast-forward to 12 years ago. I was at a friend’s retirement party and was asked if I had any regrets. It gave me a chill. It was like this voice came up out of my soul and I declared to everyone in this awkward, sad tone, ‘I always wanted to be a sprinter!’ That’s when I found out there actually were track events for seniors. It was like a bolt of lightning to discover it was not too late.”
Susan has qualified and competed in National Senior Games since 2009. Her new athletic career also includes participation in numerous USATF masters and international events, and she even competes as an unattached athlete in NCAA track meets. The mother of two has done well at Minnesota Senior Games and is proud of the gold medal she won at a national masters event. While the National Senior Games medal stand has eluded her, her spirit is undeterred.
“I’m not that motivated about winning, I just want to do the best I can and not embarrass my children,” she says with a laugh. “In my mind it’s about much more beyond sports. It’s the camaraderie, friendships and well being that comes from our participation. I can say truthfully the National Senior Games has been life changing for me.”