The Long Run - February 2017

Association News
NSGA Annual Conference Highlights
By all accounts, attendees to the 2017 NSGA Annual Conference, held In Dallas from January 25-28, found a wealth of useful information, spirited networking opportunities, and renewed energy at our gathering of Senior Games organizers and partners from around the country and Canada.

The conference featured stellar presenters and information-packed meetings, capped off with the Annual Meeting of the Association where Members heard reports and participated in board elections. Highlights include:

  • Briefing on venues and preparations for June's 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Birmingham, and updates from representatives of Albuquerque, host city for the 2019 Games.
  • Inaugural presentation of male and female "NSGA Athlete of the Year" awards. Honorees were Richard "Dick" Naslund of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Deb Smith of Portland, Maine.
  • Expert presentations on both organization development and health and wellness topics, including an inspiring visit by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, "the father of aerobics."
  • NSGA Member Organization Awards
  • Board of Directors election

To find more details on these and other activities, please click on the link below to read our news release with all the details from a very busy and productive week.

2017 Annual Conference Highlights

Game On!
Transportation Update: Shuttle Service Will Be Available to Key 2017 Sport Venues
NSGA is pleased to announce that a complimentary NSGA Courtesy Transportation Shuttle Service will run to specific sport venues from the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in downtown Birmingham. The serviced venues include the Birmingham CrossPlex, Samford University and Birmingham Southern College. The specific sports being serviced are Race Walk (1500M), Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball. Times for shuttle services are broken down by sport and venue. The transportation page also has a parking map for the BJCC, which will be the hub of activity for The Games.

Click here for more information and sport-specific shuttle schedules

Early Registration Discount Ends February 28
All qualified athletes have now been notified, and the registrations are rolling in! Remember that the early registration and discount deadline is February 28, with the final registration deadline on April 2.

Find all of your sports and competition information at under the National Games tab. Athletes are giving positive feedback about the Travel and Lodging page and are making use of the Team and Partner Finder page you will find there as well.

Birmingham Welcomes You!

2017 Venue Snapshot: Cycling Maps Are Now Posted
Cyclists will enjoy the competition venues and routes that have been prepared for 2017:

  • 5K and 10K Time Trials will be held at Oak Mountain Park 30 minutes south of downtown in Pelham, the same park where our triathlon competition will take place.
  • 20K and 40K road races will be staged at Shelby County High School in Columbiana, 45 minutes south of Birmingham. The terrain is an open country road with little elevation, and the course features several shaded stretches to provide relief from the sun.
  • Course maps and complete details are now posted on the Cycling Page at

National Senior Games is Now on Instagram!
Instagram is a free online mobile photo-sharing application that allows users to share pictures and videos on the app, as well as on other social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You can download it to your smartphone on your mobile app store to set up an account.

The National Senior Games is now on Instagram! Follow us at @SeniorGames1 for updates, special 30th anniversary content, and inspiring stories from fellow athletes. The exciting part is that athletes can post their own photos and videos of their training and activity while at The Games in Birmingham. This will allow our participants to see what's going on with other athletes, while sharing their own images with everyone. Check it out - we look forward to seeing your posts and sharing ours!

HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Bringing The Heat

Ronnie Lakatos has always promoted physical fitness, both as an individual and through a long career as a coach and parks and recreation manager in south Florida. Five years ago, with retirement approaching, she started talking up the idea of having a senior basketball team with her friend and center Mattie Lenhardt.

"Mattie and I had always wanted to form a team and do Senior Games when we got to be 50," she recalls. "Mattie knew a lot of people in the Miami-south Dade area, and I recruited some of my recreation and coaching friends from Broward County."

The result was The Broward Heat, a name that gives a nod to the NBA team they root for. Among the roster of team members with fitness careers are: Ida Montgomery, a youth sports basketball coordinator for Broward County Parks and Recreation; Diane Foli, a PE teacher; Jackie House, a special needs PE teacher; Lisa Ingram, a Broward County special education PE teacher and after-school care worker for Ft. Lauderdale Parks and Recreation, and Gale Peterson, an elementary school teacher who referees through the Miami Athletics Association. Team members enjoyed basketball in their youth, and some were college scholarship players, including Kim Land, who is in Indiana University's hall of fame.

"Our mindset was to compete again in a game that we grew up loving as young ladies," Ronnie says. "I have been a manager all of my life, and that's really my strength. I do all the things you have to do to keep the team going, from getting uniforms and bags donated, to organizing the team activities. Somebody's got to do that."

The Broward Heat has made its mark, winning gold in annual Florida Senior Games play. After two appearances at National Senior Games, the team has bronze medals to show for their efforts in their competitive age division, and it has only increased their determination to take it all in 2017. "Because we're spread out and busy, we don't get to practice together as much as we'd like to. But we know each other, blend well, and know how to read each others' game."

Ronnie adds that their motivation goes beyond the competitive nature of the team. "Part of the reason was to keep us in shape, and to have quality of life physically and mentally," she explains. "I think we help lift our opponents up and make it fun for everyone. It's about fellowship and having a good time after the game is over."

Another motivation for the Broward Heat gym rats is to expand participation in their region, and get other women to return to the court. "Over the past two years, we've been picking up some players younger than us. As this team is aging up to the 55-59 group, I would like to be able to expand the program and have a second 50-54 team, and then grow to three teams as we grow older. We do it for the love of the sport, to bring basketball back to the senior community. Once people get back in it, they're hooked."

Senior Health and Wellness
Dr. Kenneth Cooper, "Father of Aerobics," Speaks at NSGA Conference
One of the high points of the recent 2017 NSGA Annual Conference in Dallas was an enlightening presentation by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, preventive medicine pioneer and "father of aerobics," that received a standing ovation from the attendees.

"NSGA is honored to have Dr. Cooper come speak to us," NSGA Health and Wellness Manager Andrew M. Walker said. "Many of our senior athletes have told us his aerobics books inspired them to begin running and other fitness activities in midlife, and that they are senior athletes today due to his inspiration." Walker added that NSGA's history reveals that Warren Blaney, widely credited as the founder of the first multi-sports senior event, was also inspired by Cooper's work.

Dr. Cooper is founder and chairman of the renowned Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, the home of seven health and wellness companies and The Cooper Institute. NSGA is grateful to Ronnie Floyd with Alabama Senior Olympics for arranging the visit from his longtime friend. Follow the link below to read more and to find a link to the screen presentation.

Dr. Cooper Presentation Story

NSGA Online Merchandise Store
If You've Got It, Flaunt It!

You work hard to stay fit and to train for Senior Games. When you look good, you feel good. Wearing something that shows your affiliation will let everyone know you are a senior athlete on a mission, and that will make you feel good!

There are new designs on our online store for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. It's easy to order at our online store. Simply click on either the NSGA or 2017 logo to find the various apparel types, then click "Personalize" to position and add the artwork you want onto your selection.

The Official NSGA Store at

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