Marie Neaves, Townsend, Delaware
Marie Neaves of Townsend, Delaware may have a career working in a library, but she is no mere bookworm. Marie is not one to shirk a challenge, and she’s had her share. Trying something new got her involved in sports after she became a senior, and it’s been one thing after another ever since.
The tragic loss of her husband to cancer in 2003, followed by her son being diagnosed with the disease nine months later (he has happily survived) was the biggest challenge of her life. “I started swimming in June of 2004 at the Dover YMCA to find some peace of mind. Life was very stressful at that time.” An ad in the Y newsletter for the Delaware Senior Olympics promising “Fun, Fellowship and Fitness” caught her attention. Once Marie got involved she was like a fish in water, progressing through state games to the National Senior Games Presented by Humana in 2005. Marie then captured a gold, silver and bronze medal – and an NSGA Top 5 record – at the 2009 games in Palo Alto.
Her swimming travels have taken Marie to her native country for the Luxembourg Masters Open where she was cheered on by her siblings who still live there. “I also did a one mile ocean swim at the Grand Cayman Islands with three other DSO athletes,” she said. “My kids went from saying ‘Good for you’ to ‘What are you thinking?’ I just love new challenges.”
Two years ago Marie needed a new challenge, so she added cycling to her sporting life, and within a short time Paul Gatti, director of the Delaware Senior Olympics, caught wind and challenged her to do the triathlon. By now you know she wasn’t going to back down, but the road has not been easy. “Running is still my Achilles heel, no pun intended,” she said with a laugh. “I’m working on that, but at least you can walk to the finish if you have to.”
Marie, now 65, will compete in four swimming events and the triathlon in Cleveland. How is she preparing for her new sport? Her matter of fact reply: “I’m going to try a half Iron Man event next month in Cambridge, Maryland.”