The Long Run - October 2016

Association News
NSGA Website Upgrade Improvements
As reported in the last newsletter, has undergone a modernization that brings faster speeds and a cleaner appearance. There are still some minor tweaks and loading of archived content to complete over the next few weeks, but all current information pages are now functional and up-to-date in time for the opening of athlete registration for the 2017 Games.
An additional benefit is that everything on our website is now searchable, meaning that you can now enter key words or names to find what you are looking for quickly. The same is true for anyone using a search engine. "Under our old setup, many linked documents and features were not visible to search engines," NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker says. "We are excited that everything we share can now be found from anywhere in the world."
One additional change of note: The Team Partner Finder page had to be completely rebuilt and old listings no longer exist. Athletes will now need to create an account to post information, and can edit their own listings to update or remove information as needed. 

Game On!
2017 Registration Information
While registration for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana will officially open on first day of November, we want to share how our process and notification works so athletes will understand when they can sign up.
Qualified Athletes will be able to register for the 2017 Games when the state(s) they qualified in are listed on the registration page at  States are listed as soon as all of their results are submitted to NSGA and verified. When the results have been uploaded, NSGA will send an e-blast to those qualified athletes. In addition, NSGA will send out one postcard by mail to their address of NSGA record with the same notification.  Information about online registration will be shared in these communications.  Early registration will end February 28th, with the final registration deadline being April 2nd.
Good luck, and we'll see you in Birmingham!
Sport Specific Schedule Now Online  
It's here, the eagerly anticipated Sport Specific Schedule for The Games in Birmingham! Please follow the link below to open the schedule that will tell you when your sport and age division will be playing.  Please note that while not likely at this point, schedules are subject to change.
Online Travel and Lodging Page Opens Oct. 17
On Monday, October 17, athletes will be able to begin making travel plans and hotel reservations on the Travel and Lodging Page at On Monday, the page will "go live" to allow online reservations to begin.
Here's what you will find on the Travel and Lodging Page:
  • List of sports - click on your sport for hotel information best suited for each venue.
  • Event Map showing sport venues
  • Discounted Air Fares with Delta
  • Discounts on car rentals with National and Alamo
  • Link to find Things to Do in Birmingham
We want to again note that dorm rooms will not be available for The Games due to standing commitments with summer camps scheduled during that time at Samford University.
National Travel Systems (NTS), our experienced Official Housing/Travel Partner for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana, has been working hard to negotiate the best hotels and rates, as well as setting up air and car rental discounts. The site will be constantly updated with the latest information and best deals.
2017 Venue Snapshot: Samford University Track Stadium
We are excited to have the Samford University Track and Soccer Stadium as the venue for track and field events for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. The stadium is located southeast of downtown Birmingham in Homewood, just across Lakeshore Drive from the Samford campus.
The state-of-the-art facility was constructed in 2011 and has hosted the Southern Conference Track and Field Championships twice, and was the venue for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials for Pole Vault held in July. The facility and grounds have room for all track and field events in close proximity.
The stadium has a seating capacity of 1,200, with 360 chair-back seats. A 5,000-square-foot support building houses concessions, ticket booth, restrooms, storage and locker rooms. There is free parking onsite, and shuttle service will be available for nearby overflow parking lots on campus.
85+ Basketball Divisions Added
We are pleased to announce that the 2017 National Senior Games will add an 85+ age division for both men's and women's basketball competition if a minimum of four teams register in each division.  "It's fantastic that the number of players and teams at that age level increased at The Games last year," said NSGA Director of Programs and Events Sue Hlavacek. "It's a continuing trend, so the National Games Committee felt that the demand for the added age division is there, and will be here to stay."
Last Chance Qualifying Games
Qualifying is almost over. The last Member Games still open for registration are the California Encore Games in the Bay Area between Nov. 5-Dec. 3, and the Florida Senior Games Dec. 3-11in Clearwater. Go to the links for schedules and registration.

HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Senior Strider
Trackster Brenda Matthews is at the top of her game. Last year, the four-time National Senior Games competitor scored four gold medals at the 2015 Games in the women's 65-69 50, 100, and 200 meter races, plus the long jump. She also helped her 4x100 relay team earn a silver medal. She was undefeated in all of her 2015 masters races in the U.S. and won two bronze medals at the World Masters Athletics Outdoor Championships held in Lyon, France. That was good enough for USA Track & Field to name her an Athlete of the Year in the women's 65-69 division.
Sounds like the resume of a life-long track athlete, but surprisingly, Brenda ran her first competitive race as she turned 50. "Softball is my first love," she says. "I started when I was seven years old and played as a catcher in fast-pitch softball for years. But later my knees weren't very good to play catcher anymore."
After seeing people having fun at a senior track event, Brenda asked her sister, who was a high school coach, to help show her the techniques. "It took a lot. I tore my quad muscles, my hamstring, but I did everything one has to do to learn track. But I made it. My goal was to make it to the 2001 National Senior Games, and I won a silver and two bronze. I was ecstatic and caught the bug."
Desiring to train with others, the retired healthcare project manager took an interest in the Southern California Striders track club. Her enthusiasm soon got her elected president of the club, a position she held for nine years. "As sometimes happens when you show an interest, you find yourself in charge," she muses. "We just celebrated our 60th anniversary. The Striders have a rich history. We are all friends and enjoy ourselves competing and cheering each other on. We support each other, but we also support the other clubs too. It's a special community of positive people."
Brenda obtained USATF Level Two coaching and strength and ISSA conditioning certifications to better help others. "I give back to the sport by coaching all age levels, from 7 years old on up. I want them to have the right level of desire and commitment to achieve their goal, whatever that is."
"It's not always a goal to win," she continues. "There's one teenage runner I coached who was a bit awkward, so we simply had the goal to not come in last. When he came in 6th out of 8 we celebrated like he had won that race. There's all levels of victory."
This year, Brenda kept up her blazing pace, winning all of her U.S. events this year and qualifying for The 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham next June. However, she was edged out of the top spot in the 200 meter race in international competition at the Americas Masters Games held in Vancouver. That set up a new goal for her. "That's not going to happen again," she laughs. "She's a very nice lady, but I can't wait to get back on the track with her."

Senior Health and Wellness
Six Steps to Help Prevent and Protect from a Fall
Did you know that one in three older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. They can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult to stay active. And yes, even healthy, active seniors need to be aware because falls can happen to anyone.
The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. The key is to know where to look. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) lists some common factors that can lead to a fall:
  • Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance- primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
  • Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina-making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
  • Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
  • Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
  • Chronic conditions: More than 90% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
The NCOA offers some practical advice in the online article "6 Steps to Protect Your Older Loved One from a Fall" linked below. There are other information resources you will find on their website as well. Read up and share with others! 

Share Your Favorite Memory from National Senior Games
"30 Health and Fitness Secrets of Senior Athletes"
The deadline to submit your favorite tip is October 22nd so we can select and assemble our list. The top 30 selected athlete "secrets" will be shared with national media in January 2017. It can be an inspiration or motivational saying, or pithy advice about exercise, nutrition, keeping mentally active, or staying motivated. The wittier, the better! Hurry, send yours in now!
What's Your Favorite Memory of The Games?
We need more of your favorite memories! Tell us about that special moment, from funny to inspirational, about your participation in past National Senior Games. The simple online form offers several ideas for the type of brief messages we would love to share with others during 2017. You can even attach a photo to go with your story. 

NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Fall into Fashion...NSGA Style
Qualifying is almost over, time to plan your trip to Birmingham and get NSGA gear with the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana logo. You can get other motivational images and logos at our online store. When you go to the link below, simply click on either NSGA or 2017 images to find the various apparel types. Then click "Personalize" to position and add the artwork you want onto your selection. Get yours today!
Heart and Soul
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