The Long Run - December 2017

Association News

2017 Games Earn 2nd Sports Industry Award!

Last month, we were excited to report that The 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana had won the 2017 SportsTravel Award in the category of "Amateur - Best Multi-Sport or Multi-Discipline Event." We were proud to top the voting again, having previously won the same award in 2007, 2011 and 2013.

This month, we are ecstatic to share that Sports Destination Management magazine has jointly named the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau and the 2017 National Senior Games as "2017 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism" in its November-December edition. The publication has the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism industry.

"This award illustrates the dedication and excellence of both organizations," commented David Galbaugh, the bureau's Vice President of Sports Sales & Marketing. "It is a fitting endorsement of what the National Senior Games means to the athletes that participate and to the communities that host the Games."

NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker noted that the awards and event success required the support of many corporate and host community partners and volunteers, notably Humana, the event's Presenting Sponsor, the Mayor's office, the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center and The Knight Eady company. You can read our complete news release at the link below. Congratulations to everyone, including our great athletes!

Media Release: Two 2017 Awards

Year-End Reminder: Keep the Flame Burning!

Winning awards, staging world-class Games, honoring our history with an extensive 30th Anniversary commemoration and web archive-we can all share pride in these are great accomplishments. Everyone, from state Member Games organizers, to board members, to our partners, volunteers, staff, and our awesome athletes, has played a role in our successes.

There is much more work that can be done, both to improve Games and to advance our advocacy to promote health and fitness far and wide. In this season of giving, you can help us "Keep The Flame Burning" with a charitable donation.

As you wrap up your 2017 tax year, we respectfully want to remind you that NSGA is a 501(c)3, non-profit, so all donations are recognized by the IRS as deductible contributions. We ask that you please consider the National Senior Games Association and visit our donation page at the link below for information about how to give.

If you are one of the many who have already made a donation, THANK YOU for your participation. You are making The Senior Games Movement stronger. Long Live the Challenge!

Donate to NSGA

Game On!

Albuquerque 2019 Host Committee Hires Executive Director

The Albuquerque host committee for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana has taken a big step forward by naming its new executive director.

Hazel Tull-Leach is well-known in New Mexico as a seasoned development professional, having served NDI New Mexico, the University of New Mexico Foundation, and UNM Hospitals/UNM Children's Hospital in leading resource development roles.

She also has deep roots in athletics, having played basketball at Texas Tech before coming to Albuquerque, where she was assistant coach for the UNM Ladies Basketball team for five years, helping the team win a WAC Championship and its first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth in history. She then served as color analyst of the team for 910-The Animal sports radio for another seven years.

NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker says Tull-Leach is a perfect fit to run the local host organizing efforts. "Albuquerque has made an excellent choice of a person who has been a successful organizer and fund raiser, and who also understands the passion and health benefits of participating in sports," he says.
"Marshalling resources and motivating people is her core strength, and that will go a long way in assembling a staff and engaging community partners to make for very successful Games in June of 2019."

Watch for regular updates and information about our host city in future newsletters.


HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month

The Long and Short of Bob Lida

One of the names that appears repeatedly in National Senior Games track & field sprint records is Bob Lida. His name also appears next to age division world records and other high marks in masters track events, which has landed the Kansas native in the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame and earned a 2012 Best Masters of the World award from the International Association of Athletics Federation.

That's all well and good, but the senior speedster traces his basic motivation in one sentence: "There's nothing more fun than running as fast as you can."

Bob didn't start as a sprinter, and his career has had many setbacks. He began running the half-mile in high school, but a stress fracture sidelined most of his senior year and no scholarship was forthcoming. He walked on at the University of Kansas to run cross country, but that changed. "One day, they had us run 400s and I cleaned everyone's clock. My coach said, 'Bob, we may have you in the wrong event.' From that day on I was a sprinter." He went on to be Big Eight champion in the indoor 440-yard dash in 1959.

Then a sciatic nerve issue seemingly ended his track life, and he turned his focus to an advertising career. At 40, he decided to start sprinting again in masters events, "but for some reason known only to God" he pursued road races and marathons. Yet, the nagging need for speed compelled him to return to the short track. "I was piling on the road miles, and always wanting to finish faster. I drove myself and broke down with all kinds of problems," he recalls. "It took a good five years to come back completely. I decided to go back to sprinting when I was 60."

At the 1997 National Senior Games in Tucson, Bob placed fifth in the 200-meter race, but the fire was rekindled. "My legs were so sore. But there were lot of the same guys running that I saw when I was 40. How much fun is that?"

Since that time, he's turned on the burners. Now 81, Bob rarely finds himself behind at the finish and has avoided further major injuries. He trains hard and feels fit, buoyed by a study conducted by McGill University six years ago that revealed he had the heart of a 56-year-old. The records keep falling, but he says the social aspect of sport is of equal importance.

"I want to win, and I prepare hard to win. My goal today is to beat the age curve. But that's not why I show up," he explains. "There's a common bond that you have when you are in masters track. I have made long friendships in this country, and also in places like Germany, England, and Australia. We keep in touch and it's great to see them at world championships every year."

Bob has also given back to his sport as a sprint and cross country coach at local high schools in Wichita for the past 15 years. "Nobody's gone to the Olympics, but I've seen a few with talent and work ethic go on to Division One colleges. I stay in contact and go see them in meets whenever I can."

He also enjoys the unique blend of longtime tracksters and less experienced athletes at National Senior Games. "When you go to other masters events, you won't see as many people walking around with medals around their necks. You see a lot of them at Senior Games. I think that's neat. These people went to the local games, they got qualified, and earned the right to represent their state. They are proud when they win. I think that's fantastic.

"These Games give people a goal. There's nothing worse than just working out."

We're always looking for great athlete stories! Submit yours, or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you. Click here for the submission form.

Senior Health and Wellness

Take the Quiz to be Health Wise and Games Ready

To perform a sport well, the training of the best athletes includes putting foundational fitness first. Everyone's baseline should be to practice everyday wellness and to receive basic preventive care for health maintenance. Putting your health first also increases the chance that you will be there for your family and friends as well as "Senior Games ready."

With the cost of today's health care, it is wise to invest in your health by putting prevention first. You can check out how you are practicing the fundamentals of everyday health and prevention by taking the Staying Healthy Quiz found on the Staying Healthy and Games Ready page at

The Staying Healthy quiz offers questions in several categories, including screening and exams, caregiving, heart health, healthy eating, preventing falls, and physical activity. The questions will remind you of the value of ongoing health maintenance. Examples are "Did you have a wellness visit with your doctor within the last year?" and "By age 65, is it too late for exercise to make a difference in your health?" After answering each question, you will be given encouraging feedback.

When you complete the quiz, stay in the section and check out tips and resources to help you stay healthy as you grow older. You will receive personalized feedback that includes the following message. This includes:

  1. Information on key health topics for older adults
  2. Tips on staying healthy and preventing illness
  3. Links to other trusted websites

You can retake the quiz, or click onto "see all quizzes" for more. As a savvy senior athlete, you may expect not to miss any questions with the Everyday Healthy Quiz, for example, but you will find that we can all benefit from maintaining a mindset of lifelong learning that will make us healthy, wealthy and wise.

By Andrew Walker, NSGA Health and Wellness Manager - [email protected]

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