Too old for sports? Not these Senior Games participants
On her 50th birthday in July three years ago, Janet Foster of Longwood subdivision got a bike.
Last month in the 2011 Summer National Senior Games in Houston, she placed eighth out of 13 riders in the 50-54 female category in the 20K cycling road race and eighth among 12 riders in that age category in the 40K cycling road race.
"I was pretty happy making it into the ribbon winners," said Foster, 53.
Her first cycling race was in October in the Texas State Games, where she qualified for the nationals.
"I love cycling, like it a lot. I found I could work at something and do better than I thought I could. I was proud of myself," Foster said.
The 2015 Summer National Senior Games will be in Foster's hometown of Minneapolis, Minn.
"I think it would be pretty cool if I could keep this up and in four years compete in Minneapolis. It will be harder; there are hills there," she said laughing.
The National Senior Games Association is a nonprofit member of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Foster was one of seven Cypress-area athletes participating in the games. They all agreed that the best part of the games is meeting and talking to participants from other states.
"Bowling is bowling no matter where you are doing it. It's the people who make the difference," said Richard Heathcott, 62, of Canyon Village at Cypress Springs, who has been bowling for more than 20 years. About five years ago, he bowled a 299 out of a possible 300, and then rolled two different 290 games. His average is 204.
"There was so much stiff competition this year," Heathcott said. "I walked in to bowl my second session," at Palace Lanes in Bellaire, "and they already knew what the cutoff score was from Friday, and I didn't make that."
Bringing home medals from the competition was Delores Henry, 60, of Stone Oak Estates Court. She earned bronze medals running in the 5K and 10K road races. She didn't start running until she was in her late 30s.
"It was something I wanted to do. I first started walking and then running," she said. "I decided I like this. I started doing the 5Ks, the fun runs."
Five years ago she completed the Houston and the London marathons. "It wasn't great (running) times, but I finished them," she said.
She competes in duathlons, which are similar to triathlons, but don't include swimming.
At the 2009 Nationals in California, Henry said she didn't do too well.
"I trained a little harder for 2011 and it seems to have paid off," she said.
She has added biking and swimming to her training schedule. Her next goal is to compete in triathlons.
Ken Dunlap, 77, of Longwood subdivision, has most other athletes beat in terms of years of competition. He has been competing since at least 2000.
He began playing on basketball teams after a free-throw contest through the Texas Senior Olympics drew his interest.
His original team was the Houston Hoops. Over the years, the team played in the national games several times.
Dunlap said that some of the Hoop players died or moved off and the team disbanded after the California games. He played with the Corpus Christi 75ers in the Houston games.
"We play twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) at Fonde," Dunlap. "I'm the oldest guy down there."
Local Advertising by PaperG