Don Currie (wearing No. 188) took home three golds and two silvers in track and field events at the 55+ BC Games.

Slocan octogenarian sets sights on new records

Track and field star participated in the 55+ BC Games, currently holds four national records

Slocan track and field star Don Currie holds four Canadian records, but the 81-year-old isn’t yet satisfied.

He recently returned from the 55+ BC Games in North Vancouver, where he competed in six events. Now he’s now determined to break the record for the 10 km road walk. He won three golds and two silver medals.

“I don’t want to make any predictions, but I think I’m in contention for a possible record in the 10K,” Currie told the Star. “If I can get it together, if I don’t get hurt — and if the creek doesn’t rise, the sun continues to shine — I might have a shot at the record. That’s what I’m gearing up to.”

Currie was encouraged by his finishing time in the 5 km race walk at the 55+ BC games, which he completed in 36:51. He figures if he doubles that time, even with additional time added for fatigue, he’ll be well under the current record of 1:48.

And though he could’ve chosen to compete in the 5 km road-walk at a Sept. 12 meet in Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, he decided he wanted to do the longer event because he wants to give himself “a challenge.”

To those impressed by his athleticism, Currie has this to say: “My basic advice for those people who are aging is to get out and move. Walking is primary and it’s something that everybody can do one way or the other. The thing is to start from a minimum level and work towards a higher level, then do it consistently.”

Currie said all the participants from the West Kootenay’s Zone 6 performed admirably at the games, and he gave a special shout-out to their representative Brooke Campbell.

“She’s doing a wonderful job,” he said.

He encouraged anyone who’s interested in getting in shape or competing in the variety of sports offered by the 55+ BC Games to visit bcseniorgames.ca, and search under Zone 6.

The athletes meet the second Thursday of every month at the Castlegar and District Recreation Complex at 10 a.m.

Cyclist Sharisse Kyle (right) captured three silver medals in cycling.

‘New wave of seniors coming up’

According to a local organizer, there has been a surge of interest in the 55+ BC Games, and new participants are learning from long-time athletes.

“We have this new wave of seniors coming up, and they’re teaming up with some wonderful older mentors in their 80s, 90s — some of whom have won international medals,” Zone 6 coordinator Brooke Campbell told the Star.

And this year they all came together in North Vancouver to compete in everything from dart-throwing and cards to track and field, dragon boating, swimming and golf.

“It’s a wonderful event and it’s a modern miracle we pull this off every year,” Campbell said.

There were 87 local participants this year, and many broke records and took home medals.

Nelson’s Marylee Banyard, who competed in the 80-84 category of swimming, brought home four gold medals for the 100m, 200m and 400m I.M.s and the 25m butterfly.

In cycling’s 60-64 category, Nelson’s Chris Desjardins came home with two silver medals and a gold for time trial, road race and hill climb.

Salmo’s Terry Hearn took home gold in golf, in the 75-79 age category.

One downside of the event was the Saturday storm, which interrupted the gold medal hockey match for one team. But Campbell said overall it was amazing.

“Everywhere I went there was laughter, people breaking records. It’s really wonderful to have a games like this.”

Joan Hooper of Christina Lake (centre) and Marylee Banyard of Nelson (right). Banyard won five gold and one silver in swimming events.

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