NSGA Staff, Personal Best Tour Visits Utah’s Huntsman World Senior Games
The spirit of perseverance, overcoming obstacles and offering a role model to others are key aspects of NSGA’s new definition of personal best. These are common traits with most senior athletes, and they show it in a myriad of ways. Case in point: John Morgan, Jr., the latest athlete featured when the Personal Best Tour visited The Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker (above, left) presented a Personal Best Award to Morgan (center) with assistance of Kyle Case, CEO of the Huntsman World Senior Games and a member of NSGA’s Board of Directors before a large gathering at the Dixie Center, the registration and social hub for the games which annually attracts 10,000 athletes from more than 50 countries. The 90 year old tennis player founded the Huntsman World Senior Games 27 years ago and helped forge a partnership with NSGA to make them Utah’s official qualifying event for the National Senior Games.
“Every state has its pioneers of the senior games movement who followed through on a vision to organize competitive and fun sporting events to promote healthy aging,” Riker said. “In recognizing John Morgan Jr. we also call attention to all of the heroes whose Personal Best spirit brought senior games into being for their states.”
Our presentation attracted coverage by two newspapers and Fox13 TV News based in Salt Lake City four hours away. The Spectrum, Gannett’s regional print and online news outlet, highlighted NSGA’s health and fitness mission. Read it here. In addition, Morgan and Case were featured guests for BYU’s Talk Worthy 30 minute radio show that airs on Sirius XM.
The visit also provided the opportunity for NSGA staff members to observe competition and to share and compare information with staff of the Huntsman World Senior Games. “The city and region really supports their games. It’s incredible to see how much focus St. George places on health and fitness with their parks, recreation and sport facilities,” Riker noted. “It’s a community that offers an active quality of life for people and that others should emulate.”
The Medal Count – Top Ten States
3,516 medals were awarded for competitions in 19 sports during the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana. Below is the final official medal count for the top ten states:
Memories of the 2013 Games
Defending men’s 65-69 horseshoe champion Richard Colbert, from Harborwoods, Michigan lines up his throw in the first of six rounds at the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana. The 66 year old went on to claim a silver medal. (Dougal Brownlie/Brooks Institute)
Alexandre Latchinincky, from Laramie,Wyoming, lunges for the birdie in the men’s badminton doubles 55-59 year old division. Latchininsky and his partner Michael Hilliard won both matches with scores of 21-12 and 21-8 in competition staged at the Cleveland Convention Center. (Danyell M. Ellis/Brooks Institute)
Athletes dive off of the starting block during the 100 meter freestyle swimming competition at Cleveland State University Natatorium during the National Senior Games. (Photo by Miriam Creach/Brooks Institute)
HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month
Man of 1,000 Races
Experienced runners will tell you that it’s good to have a goal. But few goals are as remarkable as Don McMahill’s-that of competing in 1,000 races. The 77 year old retired YMCA director reached that ambitious milestone in the 5K race walk at the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana in July. The occasion provided an opportunity for a family reunion of sorts as many relatives came to Cleveland to cheer and celebrate as fans at the finish line.
Don’s first race took place in Omaha, Nebraska in 1951 as a high school sophomore. During his running career he has been active in clubs and camps around the country, helping start what is now known as the Southern Colorado Runners Club in Pueblo, Colorado. He also started a club in Black Mountain, North Carolina where he now resides. Along the way he coached teams ranging from middle school to college level and continued coaching as a personal trainer for a number of years.
Don has run numerous marathons over his career. “My all-time favorite is the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado. I’ve started that race 12 times, but had to drop out twice-once due to altitude sickness and the other time for an injury. But six times I completed the full marathon, and made the ascent for four races.”
Another favorite run was not a race. Don conquering the Grand Canyon, going solo from rim to rim without support. “The 21 mile run took five hours and along the way I was begging hikers for water,” he recalls. “When I finished I thought I was sunburnt to a crisp, but I was actually covered in the red dust of the canyon!”
Don has been a fixture at races around North Carolina for many years, and was honored with having an invitational named after him – the 2012 Hyder-McMahill High School Invitational held at Montreat College in the Tarheel State.
A back injury five years ago prompted the senior strider to switch from running to race walking. He competed in his first National Senior Games in 2009 and finished 1,000 lifetime races in Cleveland.”My goal was to achieve this milestone by the time I turned 80, so I beat my objective by more than two years.”
Reaching a millennial number was a great accomplishment, but Don McMahill is just as eagerly looking forward to training and competing for the future the same way he made his goal – one race at a time.
Thanks to Julie McCoy (Don’s daughter) for contributing to this story.
Senior Health and Wellness
Studies Show Regular Exercise Preserves Brain Function
This month we share a recent article from Runner’s World magazine below about research findings that suggest regular exercise improves brain function. We are proud to note that #2 in the photo is NSGA board member Jerry Levasseur of Maine. Jerry tells us the photo was taken from the steeplechase event at the World Masters Games in Sydney four years ago. He must have stuck the landing since we saw him competing in several events in Cleveland no worse for the wear!
NSGA Online Merchandise Store
2013 Games Gear Still Available at NSGA Online Merchandise Store
Let everyone know you’re an athlete in the senior games movement that “rocked” Cleveland. Get into gear!