Marcus Zerr of Hope earned seven medals in track and field at the BC 55+ Games in Kelowna, last week. One of his four silvers came in the 25-pound weight throw, seen here. Barry Stewart photo

Hope athlete breaks personal records, earns medals at BC 55+ Games

‘I couldn’t ask for more’

Barry Stewart

Hope Standard

Hope-based card players and dragon boaters attended the BC 55+ Games in good numbers, last week in Kelowna — but it was Marcus Zerr winning seven of the eight medals brought back to Hope.

Zerr, aged 59, was a rookie at the 55+ Games in Cranbrook last year, but he won five medals.

“Last year, I thought to myself ‘I was really good at track and field in high school,’ so I trained for a month and went to the games,” said Zerr on Monday.

“Last year, it was five medals in five events,” he said. “This year, I broke all my records and I added two more events and got two more medals. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Unlike his first experience, Zerr spent 11 months training for the 2018 games, in the field and at the gym.

“It’s important to the complimentary workouts for the events,” said Zerr, who had to switch sports when he injured his upper right arm.

“It’s the big tendon, attaching the upper bicep to the humerus,” he explained. “My doctor told me ‘Quit arm wrestling, or you’re going to tear it off.’ That was two Marches ago. I can still feel it.

“I almost didn’t go to the games this year,” added Zerr. “I got sick and I think I trained three times in the last month — but it cleared up and I was able to go.”

Over three days of competition at the Apple Bowl, Zerr won gold in the discus, javelin — and the shot put, which was one of his new events this year. Silvers came from the triple jump, long jump, hammer throw and weight throw, with the hammer being his other new event.

Zerr’s wife Cristal had been training to go as a distance runner but an illness forced her to save her debut for next year, in Richmond. By that time, Marcus will be 60 and will have an age advantage as a ‘youngster’ in the 60+ class.

Three Hope pairs competed in whist at Kelowna but didn’t finish in the medals. Eva Andrew teamed up with Caren Hale, Ed Sleasman teamed with Lilly Vomberg and Wendy and Eric Larder rounded out the Hope card players.

Trisha and Dale Kjemhus, Peter Bailey, Karen Legere, Ron Denman, Patsy Campbell and Cheryl Scott competed in the 55+ mixed dragon boat event, placing fifth out of nine teams.

“We had a couple of photo finishes that we lost by less than a second,” said Dale Kjemhus, Tuesday. His wife, Trisha coached the team and set the pace with the on-board drum.

“We picked up nine paddlers from other teams and three of them used to paddle with us,” said Dale. “Other paddlers were from our club Fraser Valley Paddling Club.

Jimmy Toy aged into the 85+ golfing group this year and finished with second low gross in the 0 to 17 handicap flight.

“There were only four of us in the group,” said Toy. We’re losing them by attrition.

“I didn’t golf that well — but that’s golf!” he laughed. “We played at Bear and Quail Ridge, which are beside each other. Nice courses and easier for travelling — but it was the unfamiliar greens that got me. I know the local greens inside-out.”

Obie Erickson and Peter Scherle traveled with Toy but were up against bigger numbers of competitors in their age classes and failed to reach the podium.

In good weather, Toy has been golfing Monday through Friday this summer but will now switch to curling, where it never rains.

“I play Monday men’s, Wednesday mixed and also Thursday mixed,” said Toy. “You know what happens, if you don’t keep moving!”

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