The Long Run - August 2019

2019 Games Nominated for SportsTravel Award PLEASE VOTE!

Every year, SportsTravel Magazine polls industry professionals and the public to select the best sporting events in amateur, collegiate and professional categories. The National Senior Games has won the prestigious SportsTravel Award twice before, and we are thrilled to announce that The Games are nominated again!

The 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana has been nominated for the SportsTravel Award in the “Best Amateur Sports Event” category. Award winners will be announced at the TEAMS ’19 Conference, to be held in November in Anaheim.

Please take a minute to vote for us, and help us spread the word to get our athletes and friends to go to the SportsTravel web link below to vote for the 2019 National Senior Games. It’s quick and easy, and you do not need to vote for all of the award categories if you prefer not to. Deadline is Sept. 16, but don’t wait. Vote!

SportsTravel Award Ballot Page

Game On!

"One For The Ages" Games Video by City of Albuquerque


The City of Albuquerque’s Gov-TV has produced an outstanding new 18 minute documentary about the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana that we want to share. Enjoy!

NSGA Contributes to New Albuquerque Sculpture

The City of Albuquerque has installed a new sculpture on Civic Plaza, a visual representation of the One Albuquerque spirit that brings the community together to solve challenges and unleash its potential. The sculpture is funded partially by a gift from NSGA and partially from the Lodgers Tax used to promote and advertise the city. It will become a signature feature and photo opportunity on the Plaza and at major events like Balloon Fiesta, River of Lights, and the State Fair.

“The One Albuquerque idea is a nod to our cultural history, but it is also a call to action, and this installation will be a powerful reminder of that spirit,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Whether you are from here or have come here from afar; whether you call the city ‘ABQ’, ‘Albuquerque’, or ‘Burque,’ you have an important role to play in making this city the best place to live and thrive.”

“The city really stepped up, in true One Albuquerque fashion, to roll out the red carpet for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana,” said National Senior Games Association CEO Marc T. Riker. “We are honored to commemorate the legacy of successful Games with this new installation.” 

KQRE-TV story

2019 Games Enjoyed Extensive Media Coverage

We are happy to report that overall media coverage of the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana has once again exceeded the previous Games. In the month of June alone, there were 729 national and local media stories in print, broadcast and online related to The Games or featured athletes. Using the media industry measurements, this represents more than 292 million “impressions,” which is broadly defined as the estimated available audience which is exposed to news content.

The major driver of media attention was on 103-year-old runner Julia Hawkins, with pictures, video and stories of the Centenarian appearing worldwide. However, many other athletes received national coverage, most notably Personal Best athletes DeEtte Sauer, Carol Klenfner, and Jerry Levasseur, marathon legend Kathrine Switzer, and 84-year-old Vermont track legend Flo Meiler, who was followed by a video crew from The Olympic Channel for a feature that will air at a later date. Scores of other athletes were featured in hometown media stories.

“We have seen a measurable increase in media attention to The Games throughout this decade,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker reports. “While we’re not where we want to be yet, we have made very significant strides to share our brand and our message to the public. This media attention, along with communications in our social media and the publicity our partners and sponsors obtain, is critical to expanding our reach to make the Senior Games opportunity available to all older Americans.”

As an example, here are just a few of our favorite “Hurricane Hawkins” media stories from the 2019 Games:

Things to See and Do in Greater Fort Lauderdale

Top 15 Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Albuquerque may still be a lingering memory, but NSGA staff and local hosts in Greater Fort Lauderdale are working full-speed to frame up details for the 2021 National Senior Games presented by Humana. While we work on confirming venues and dates for a future announcement, here’s some video postcards from City Travel Reviews with just some of the high points to get you into the mood to be Florida bound in two years.

Top 15 Things to do in Greater Fort Lauderdale

August Athlete of the Month

Performing a Lofty Role

NSGA’s official highlights video from the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana sought to go beyond action clips and honor the athletes and the people of Albuquerque and New Mexico by selecting a local athlete to represent them in an unusual way. The video titled “Enchanted” (watch it here) features stunning drone video shots of a medal winner perched atop the Sandia Crest, displaying anticipation and determination in the beginning and then showing pride and reward in the closing scene.

That has prompted the question: “Who is that guy?”

David Salazar could not have been more perfect for the role. Born in Albuquerque, David’s heritage includes Native American, Hispanic and Anglo roots. He earned a gold medal in the men’s 65-69 800-meter race at The Games in 2015 and grabbed silver in the same event in 2019. With the help of New Mexico Senior Olympics, we found David literally one day before the shoot was scheduled, and by coincidence he lives on the east side of the Sandia Mountains just a few minutes from the remote location we had selected.

When contacted about participating, David was humbled about the opportunity. “There are three things I feel honored about doing this - representing and helping to promote both New Mexico Senior Olympics and the National Senior Games, representing my track club, and then promoting Albuquerque and New Mexico in general,” he says.

Besides his National Senior Games medals, the father of three has also competed at several previous USA Track and Field Masters national meets and won multiple races in the 800, 1500 and pentathlon events. Like many of his Senior Games peers, he was a late bloomer.

“I did some track in junior high, but I didn’t do again competitively until I was around 40,” he explains. “I was always active. I just wasn’t motivated to compete until then. After I did well in a few races I got serious about it.”

David ran with two different track clubs in California over time, and five years ago he helped form a New Mexico track club that now has 30 regular members. “I am the USATF certified coach for the track club, and I coached high school track for 12 years,” he proudly states. “I don’t coach a team anymore, but I still coach a few individual students.”

When winter comes, David doesn’t hibernate. He participates in winter recreation and has become involved in adaptive sports, teaching people with disabilities how to snowboard.

Living nearby, the runner has hiked on the crest and visited the “rock house” he stood on for the camera many times. This was the first time he donned his athletic gear and climbed onto the roof of the mountaintop structure, and the weather was unexpectedly cold and windy. “I was shaking and asked the drone guy if he could see it, but he said no,” he says with a laugh. “If it had been winter, I would have probably been comfortable. But since it was summer that 50 degrees and windy felt pretty cold. But you never get tired of the beauty and serenity of the mountains.”

When David saw the drone video clips from the shoot, he realized he was doing something special on many levels. “Seeing the video made me feel pretty insignificant, really,” he reflects. “But it is great that we can do things to communicate about serving our community, staying fit and helping others to maintain a high quality of life, and to continue to do what we do for years to come.

“I enjoyed doing it. It’s an honor,” he concludes. “I’m always willing to do anything to help promote something like this.”

We want to hear more great stories! To submit yours, or to nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you, Please Click Here.

Senior Health and Wellness

Train Smart with High Intensity Interval Training

The wisdom in the saying “work smart, not hard” applies to effective training for senior athletes. The following Q&A with Mike Studer, a runner, triathlete, and full time physical therapist, provides insight on the potential for high intensity interval training (HITT) as a smart workout strategy.

Q: What is high intensity interval training (HITT) and why do you use it?
A: HIIT is a well-researched strength and endurance method that has been applied in running, cycling, and swimming with excellent results. Most HIIT training involves a short interval of near maximal effort, followed by a longer (two to three times the duration) interval of low intensity. The high-intensity interval should be performed at (about) 80% of a person’s maximum, and the lower-intensity at (about) 40%.

Q: Since training smart involves being effective and safe, how do I safely execute the high intensity part of HIIT?
A: When you are running, cycling, or swimming hard for 45-60 seconds, it should feel as though the workload is rated an 8 on a scale of 0-10, when 1 is “resting” and 10 is “I cannot work harder than this”. The light interval, in this example, would still involve moving, but at a 4 out of 10, for at least twice the duration as the high interval. This might involve walking, cycling, or swimming for 90-120 seconds.

Q: How do I safely integrate HIIT into my current workout program?
A: If you are not already using interval training, choose an activity like walking, specifically power walking. After your warm up, try walking 2 minutes at a higher pace, then 4 minutes at a lower pace. Comfortably adding more cycles of high and low intensity allows you to take advantage of the principle of progressive overload.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), having base/foundational aerobic training for several weeks is needed for the safe application of HITT. To avoid injury it is especially important for seniors to allow for adequate recovery time since HITT workouts are more exhaustive. ACSM suggests you start with one HITT workout per week. For a personalized prescription and plan, contact a physical therapist with sports medicine training or an ACSM certified exercised specialist or ACE certified trainer.

In addition to contributing to this article, Mike Studer has provided the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) screening as a volunteer with the Oregon Senior Games. Contact Mike at

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