The Long Run - July 2019

Game On!

Enchanted - 2019 Games Video Recap

New Mexico is called "The Land of Enchantment" and those who attended the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana know it’s true. Athletes and guests enjoyed great weather, excellent facilities, overwhelming hospitality and volunteerism, and a community spirit summed up in the city's motto of "One Albuquerque."

A historically high number of athletes-nearly 14,000-attended The Games, and all were captivated by the cultural diversity and traditions put on display. Our combined impressions from this 2019 video recap can be summed in one word: Enchanted.

Albuquerque Mayor Pens Op-Ed about The Games

Mayor Tim Keller has provided amazing leadership through the multiyear process to plan and stage the largest-ever National Senior Games in Albuquerque. We want to share an editorial by him in the Albuquerque Journal that provides some perspective through the eyes of the host city. Thank You and Gracias, Albuquerque, New Mexico! The memories will carry us all the way to Greater Fort Lauderdale for the National Senior Games in 2021.

Mayor Tim Keller – “Everyone’s a Winner”

Looking Back: 2019 Games Media Platform Available with Stories and Images

Did you know all of our feature content from The Games will remain online under the NEWS tab at for all to read and enjoy into the future? Below are some handy links to access images, video and great stories about athletes and the events:

  • 2019 Games Daily News - Features are archived in daily files so you can read everything from the first day of the event.
  • 2019 Photo Gallery - Stunning imagery from the largest Olympic-style multi-sport event in the world.
  • 2019 Games Videos - 2019 highlights video, Daily Recaps, Archive of 2019 Track and Field live streaming daily broadcasts.
  • The Games in The News - Curated list of national and regional print, broadcast and Internet media placements around the 2019 Games, each linked for easy retrieval.

Breaking Good in Albuquerque: 202 Records Set at 2019 Games

The 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana produced 202 new records to set the bar higher for future competition. In addition to 17 pending new American records, 185 National Senior Games records were shattered by 124 athletes in eight sports including track and field, swimming, cycling, triathlon, archery, road race, race walk and bowling.

The most decorated athlete this year is Californian Kathy Bergen with three American and five National Senior Games high marks. This was the ninth appearance at The Games for the 80-year-old track and field elite, and she equally credits hard work and being the youngest competitor entering a new age group (80-84) for her success.

Four athletes set two or more American records in Albuquerque.

Kathy Bergen, 80, La Canada, CA

  • 100-meter dash with a time of 15.98 seconds
  • 200-meter dash with a time of 35.71 seconds
  • High Jump with a height of 1.17 meters

Florence "Flo" Meiler, 85, Shelburne, VT

  • High Jump with a height of 0.91 meters
  • Hammer Throw with a distance of 18.1 meters

Colleen Burns, 70, McIntosh, NM

  • 400-meter dash with a time of 1:15.68
  • 1500-meter race with a time of 6:15.98

Elsbeth Padia, 81, Belmont, CA

  • Hammer Throw with a distance of 26.71 meters
  • Javelin Throw with a distance of 20.12 meters

A total of ten individuals now hold at least one of the 17 American records set. Note that all records are pending until each sport’s respective sanctioning body officially certifies the results. See links for complete list of new 2019 records and other results.

2019 American and NSGA Records List
NSGA Results and Records / State Medal Count

Preparations Underway to Produce 2019 Results Book

NSGA provides its competitors with a Results Booklet, prepared in the same high quality glossy format as our Official Commemorative Prog am. The production process is arduous and requires close attention to details to get every athlete’s name and information correct. NSGA has a target to print and distribute the Results Booklet to athletes by the end of September.

July Athlete of the Month

Renewing a "Rivalry" by Chance

It’s not that unusual for senior athletes to know others from their youthful sporting days who also participate in National Senior Games. But it’s quite another thing to realize that the guy in the lane next to you is someone you used to compete with-and against-in school who you haven’t seen in 47 years. Bob Shannon, 66 and Jeff Johanson, 65, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob swam for El Camino High School and Jeff was on the South San Francisco swim team in the early 70's. “We were crosstown rivals and our teams were die-hard competitors,” Bob recalls. “Jeff was phenomenal in breaststroke and I was pretty good at backstroke and butterfly.” Due to their specialties, the two only competed against each other in medleys and relays, but they knew each other well. After high school, both wanted to keep swimming and went to College of San Mateo, where they swam and competed together on the water polo team. Jeff went on to swim two more years at San Francisco State and dabbled with masters swimming for the next decade before he and his wife set out for international education careers. “1997 was the last time I swam even a workout,” Jeff says. “Now I’m semi-retired and decided to get back into training last year.” “I got a glimpse of Jeff back in December at the Encore Games when I qualified. There was even another San Mateo teammate there,” Bob says with some amazement. “But when I signed up for Albuquerque I didn’t expect to see him or Jeff.” The natatorium was packed with a lot of swimmers milling around, so they didn’t see each other until the two stepped onto the blocks for the first race and saw they were right next to each other. “We gave each other a nod,” Jeff recalls. Bob got fired up. “Besides going for my personal best, I’m now thinking, ‘It’s on’! There’s no way he’s beating me in the 50 backstroke, and I knew he was thinking he would beat me in the breaststroke.”

They directly competed in two races. As expected, Bob beat Jeff in his best discipline and achieved a personal goal to exceed his swim time when he was a high school sophomore. Jeff not only beat Bob, he captured a silver medal in the 200-yard breaststroke. “The 200 breast has always been my best event, but it was still a shocker when I won the silver,” Jeff says. “It was icing on the cake at that point. We’re now one and one against each other in the sprint races, which is pretty cool,” Jeff adds. “We were able to spend some time together when we got out of the pool. It was great seeing Jeff,” Bob says. “It added a whole other dimension to the Senior Games, which were mind-blowing to begin with.” Both say staying fit is their big motivation. “I will still swim in some meets, but it’s really just great exercise for me,” Jeff explains. “I’ve got orthopedic issues, back issues and hip issues. But all those kind of melt away when I get into the water. It’s also been a lot of fun starting over and seeing if I can get better.”

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

Check Your Basic Fitness Knowledge

Much of our knowledge about fitness and human performance comes from what we have learned from the field of exercise science over the past several decades. Senior athletes seeking better health and sports performance have benefited significantly from these developments. However, even with an increase in knowledge of best practices in exercise science, there is misinformation that can negatively affect your training.

Test your basic fitness knowledge by responding to the following true or false statements excerpted from a recent American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal article by Grace T. DeSimone, B.A., ACSM-CPT. TRUE OR FALSE?

  1. Fat turns into muscle when you exercise, and when you stop exercising your muscle turns back into fat.
  2. Spot-reducing exercises can get rid of trouble areas.
  3. Women who strength train get big and muscular.
  4. More reps/less weight is better than less reps/more weight.
  5. Walking with hand weights is a great way to strength train.

Answer Key:

  1. FALSE. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle. You can’t transform one into the other no matter how hard you try! A strength-training program can increase your muscle tissue (lean body mass). The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn (even at rest). If you are consuming the same amount of calories as you did before you started an exercise program, then you’ll lose weight. With proper guidance, the weight you lose should be mainly from body fat, not muscle tissue!
  2. FALSE. There is no such thing as a “spot-reducing” exercise. You can burn fat off by exercising, but it comes off proportionately throughout your body. You may see more of a difference in some areas compared with others, but your body always maintains the same basic proportions. You can IMPROVE the look of those proportions with resistance training. Even if you stay the same weight, you will look and feel better!
  3. FALSE. It takes testosterone (the muscle-producing hormone) to gain bulky muscles. Most women do not naturally have enough of this hormone. In addition, it takes long hours and a strict regime to build that kind of muscle. ACSM recommends two nonconsecutive days each week with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for major muscle groups. It only takes a few sets a week to shape and firm up your body, and increase your metabolism.
  4. FALSE. Despite the claim, some celebrities do hundreds of abdominal exercises every day. Performing many reps. is actually NOT a good thing. This practice may create repetitive stress on your joints, and as you fatigue your form may break down potentially resulting in an injury; you need quality — not quantity — to achieve the best results. Finding a match between the number of reps. and weight depends on the individual.
  5. FALSE. Carrying weights while walking will burn a few more calories, but research shows the risk outweighs the benefit. The added weight can throw off your natural walking movements, which can cause overuse injuries to shoulder ligaments and tendons, and can increase blood pressure from gripping the hand weights. To increase caloric burn, simply increase your speed and consciously pump your arms. Alternatively, try Nordic walking poles. You may have noticed that all of the correct responses were “false” as a reminder that there is a lot of false information available in today’s world. Stay true to good information under the guidance of an ACSM certified fitness professional.

Reprint permission granted by ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal

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