The Long Run - October 2018
NSGA HQ relocated to Clearwater, Florida in May 2018.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5630, Clearwater FL 33758-5630
Main Phone: (727) 475-1187
1968 Olympians and NSGA Ambassadors in the News
On the 50th anniversary year of the Olympics held in Mexico City, Olympian alumni of the 1968 US Olympic Team have been very active. We are proud to have Tom Lough, who competed in Modern Pentathlon, as a silver medalist runner in National Senior Games. At last month's 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Assembly held in Colorado Springs, Tom was given the Dorothy Franey Langkop Ambassador Award which recognizes the special spirit Olympic and ideals through actions and outstanding service to the Olympic and Paralympic cause.
NSGA participates in the Assembly as a USOC Multisports Council Member, and CEO Marc T. Riker had the honor to get a fan photo (above) with legendary track and field Olympian Bob Beamon, best known for his world record in the long jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Last week, another 1968 Olympian, track gold medalist Mel Pender, participated in activities organized by Carolyn Hartfield, Georgia Golden Games athlete and NSGA ambassador, at the "Engage at Every Age Expo" held in Atlanta that was attended by more than 1,500. Pender helped congratulate several invited medal winners from the recently-completed Georgia games, and also shared his personal story with attendees in an interview conducted by Hartfield, who also coordinated the Wellness Gallery at the expo. Good job, Carolyn!
Registration Opens Nov.1
Registration for the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana will officially open on the first day of November. We want to explain the process so athletes will know what to expect.
- Athlete Qualification Notices- Qualified Athletes will be able to register when the state(s) they qualified in are listed on the Registration Page at NSGA.com. States are listed when all 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 record with the same qualification notice. Information about online registration will be shared in these communications. Early registration period and discounted fees will end February 28th, with the final registration deadline on April 2nd.
- How to Find Your Schedule- Looking for venue assignments by age group, order of events or other sport & age specific info? Access your respective Sports page at NSGA.com for downloadable files with event details. You can find available competition dates and times by referring to 2019 Competition Schedules Page, but the Sport pages have more details as they are available. Please note that all sport brackets, draws, pools, etc. will be posted on each sport page about two weeks before The Games begin in Albuquerque. Schedules may be subject to change.
- Housing Link Reminder- You don't have to wait to book your rooms if you know you have qualified. Click over to the Travel and Lodging Page where you can search by sport and location to find hotels with low block room rates negotiated by our partner NTS. You will also find air and car rental discount information there.
Last Call to Qualify
Qualifying year is almost over, but there are a few more chances to get into The Games. In November, California has some events left in its Encore Games held in the Bay Area. December offers the Florida Senior Games in Clearwater (Pinellas County), and the International Senior Games of the Americas in Cancun, Mexico is a new qualifying event. Please click on the state link you are interested in to visit contact pages.
New for The Games in 2019
We've previously promoted that 1500M and 5000M Power Walk will be a new medal sport for 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana, with no qualifying required for the inaugural races. There are also two other new team offerings that will debut at The Games:
- Team Triathlon- Triathlon relays are becoming popular among triathletes across the country, with USA Triathlon national governing body and other sanctioned triathlons adding them to their events to increase participation. Each member of the team will complete one element of the triathlon 400M swim, 20K cycle and 5K road race. "The addition of the relay will not only boost participation, it also gives the retired triathlete an opportunity to participate with two other teammates to complete all three elements of the race," says NSGA Director of Programs and Events Sue Hlavacek.
- Swim Relays - For the first time, The Games will also offer swim relay events. Any swimmer competing at Nationals can form a mixed relay team consisting of two males and two females. Relays will be entered at the National meet (no pre-entry and do not need to be from the same state). Relay entry packets will be available at the venue starting the first day of competition.
Please visit the individual sport pages for more details and updates as they become available.
2019 Venue Spotlight: Basketball
The University of New Mexico Lobos play basketball in the Dreamstyle Arena, but college basketball fans everywhere know it as "The Pit" for its unusual in-ground design. Built in 1966, it began with construction of a 338 x 300 foot roof at ground level, and then 55,000 cubic yards of earth were excavated to set the playing court 37 feet below ground level. Remodeled in 2010, the arena, along with six half-courts located in the adjacent Rudy Duvalos Basketball Center, will host half of our competitions.
Volcano Vista High School, located on the west mesa side of Albuquerque, will see the rest of our basketball competition. The public school was opened in 2007 and features two modern gymnasiums with ten half-court wood floors.
Get Your Kicks
Everyone knows about Route 66, but did you know the first stretch of the road was in New Mexico? Route 66 was first commissioned in 1926, picking up as many bits and pieces of existing road as possible. The first route alignment of 1926-1937 ran north-south through Albuquerque--part of a giant S-curve that connected the city to Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, Los Lunas and several Native American reservations. This original section was 506 miles of mostly unpaved road. Albuquerque boosters began pushing for a straighter route, and in 1931, federal money was designated to realign the road to a more east-west direction.
The Mother Road continues to guide visitors through Albuquerque, from the volcanoes on the city's west side, past the ABQ BioPark, through historic Old Town and the Downtown business district, and continuing eastward through the University of New Mexico and the trendy Nob Hill area, where you'll find many of the city's best restaurants, shops and boutiques.
Historic neon signs still glow along old Route 66 through Albuquerque, which is now Central Avenue. Alongside vintage signs, you'll see new versions put up by businesses that are continuing the aesthetic traditions of Route 66, adorning their shops with bright, buzzing neon.
October Athlete of the Month
Heart to Heart
All dog owners enjoy a bond with their pets, but David Kucherawy of Washington, Pennsylvania has a special connection with his cocker spaniel Raleigh. In fact, he jokes that in a sense they saved each other's lives.
David, 66, has been competing in sprint track events and collecting medals in masters and Senior Games events since 2009, including a bronze and a silver at the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana. But lack of physical activity for prior decades almost cost his life. "I played football and tennis in high school, and some football at a Division II college. After that, I was an administrator at a psychiatric hospital for nearly 40 years and did not have the time to do sports."
In 2008, he started having minor chest pains and tried to pass it off as a muscle pain or indigestion. "But the pains kept accelerating in duration and intensity," he recalls. "I only had pains early in the morning, and that was when I got up and walked Raleigh every day before going to work. I believe if I wasn't walking that dog, I might not have noticed the pain until it became a massive heart attack." Tests revealed his left anterior descending coronary artery had a 99% blockage. He had narrowly avoided what is called "the Widow Maker."
Ironically, David had rescued a severely malnourished young Raleigh from a local animal shelter 18 months beforehand. "I now think, 'We're even, buddy,'" he says. "I took care of him, and he took care of me."
It also opened a new path for David to follow to senior sports. After a stent was placed, he was advised to exercise and have a healthier diet. He began walking as part of his rehabilitation and decided to pick up the pace on his way to losing 35 pounds.
"I started racing in a little tri-county meet for seniors here, and people said, 'Wow, you're pretty fast, you should go to the Pennsylvania Senior Games,' which I was unaware of. I went there and found there was the National Senior Games. So it was just one thing after the next."
David also competes in masters track events and is proud of the 4x200 relay gold medal earned with his Philadelphia Masters Track & Field Club team at the National Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships. He's also thankful that his health has never been better. "My cardiac visits are short now, and I haven't had a stress test in almost five years," he reports. "They told me if I'm running like this there's no need to do that."
We wondered if Raleigh also runs with David while he trains. "No, he's almost 15 years old now so he's semi-retired. We still walk every day but only go a short distance now. I know he misses the times we used to take longer walks down to the college nearby, because the kids would bring Raleigh food from the snack bar."
David Kucherawy enjoys his new journey and maintains a steady training regimen. "It's the adrenaline rush and excitement of the competition that I look forward to," he says, adding, "I'm so grateful that the Senior Games exist, because it provided a goal for me."
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
Study: Heart Healthy Habits Also Improve Brain Health
In the The Long Run April newsletter, we encouraged readers to assess their heart health. In June, we asked athletes to complete the American Heart Association's MyLifeCheck. Now, a recent study provides evidence that good heart health scores are associated with better brain function.
This study found that individuals following the American Heart Association's Simple 7 heart healthy habits over eight years saw significant reductions in the likelihood of having dementia. Those who practice more of Simple 7 habits were least likely to develop dementia. Moreover, making one change can have a significant positive impact on heart score and brain health.
The Simple 7 include factors that are the strongest predictors of heart health and include tobacco use, healthy eating, physical activity, healthy weight, healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar control. Optimizing your heart health score is beneficial for anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of developing dementia and maintain brain functioning. Read more about the study here.
Optimal brain and heart function is important for Senior Games athletes to sustain their best performances. Among Senior Games athletes who completed the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE), findings indicate that athlete who compete in sports that challenge the cardiovascular system such as road race, race walking, swimming, cycling, triathlon, basketball, pickleball, and track, have lower levels of cardiovascular disease than athletes participating in sports without a cardiovascular demand.
Thus, if you're not participating in a sport that challenges your cardiovascular system, consider adding more cardiovascular exercise to your weekly routine or consider expanding to add a new sport. You know you're performing cardiovascular activity when your heart and respiratory rate increase. Increasing cardiovascular activity will improve your heart health scores, brain function and your ability to achieve personal bests across all senior games events.
This past June qualifying athletes for the past two National Senior Games received an email encouraging them to get their heart health score by completing the MyLifeCheck online assessment using a special NSGA code. If you have not yet participated, please see the MyLifeCheck email sent from NSGA on June 7 and use your unique code to complete this brief confidential assessment. All others can complete a free assessment at www.MyLifeCheck.org.
Article by Andrew Walker MPH & Dr. Becca Jordre