Getting older doesn’t have to lead to a life of weariness and immobility. If you’re willing and able to keep active, great things can still be achieved — as shown by a handful of locals who competed at the recent BC Senior Games. Seven seniors brought back twelve medals from the Kootenays, eight of them gold.
Eighty-three-year-old Joe Poulton, of Sunshine Valley, was the big winner, hauling in five gold and one silver medal in track events. Poulton said he has been running most of his adult life but only answered the call of the Senior Games last year.
Last year, Poulton won a gold in the 1500m and 800m events in the age 80-84 group. This year, it was first place in the 200, 800 and 1500m races and the 5k run and power walk. In the 400m, he placed second.
“I improved my personal bests in all but the 400-metre race,” said Poulton on Monday. Consulting his recordings in his pocket calendar he added, “In the 1500, I had a 9:15 this year and a 9:48 last year.”
Poulton has been living off-and-on at Sunshine Valley for the past 40 years, and he and his wife have made it their home for the last three years.
“I train six days a week on the old highway, that was wiped out by the landslide,” he explained. “I go out for an hour, usually in the mornings and I work on my speed and endurance. It’s mostly a flat road. Near the end of the training, I was going down to the Sardis track once a week as well.
When golfer Jimmy Toy heard about Poulton’s training, he exclaimed, “Anybody that is still walking at that age is doing good!”
Mind you, Toy was born in about the year Poulton started elementary school, so he’s not far behind — and he’s still doing well at golf. This was Toy’s third consecutive Senior Games and he has medaled each time.
“I’ve got my collection of every colour now,” said Toy, who won silver two years ago and gold last year. “I was one stroke behind a silver this time but the gold guy was eight or nine strokes ahead. I beat him last year but he got gold the year before. He’s a good golfer.”
Toy’s 175 strokes over 36 holes was third-best in the competitive 0-20 handicap class and Ron Stockton wasn’t far behind, with a low gross of 185 in the age 65-69 men’s 20.1-40 handicap.
“I also had the low net, but they only let you have one of them,” said Stockton, who also won low gross last year in Comox. “We played the first day at Birch Bank in Trail, then we went to the Castlegar Golf and Country Club on the next day. It was a much tougher course. I had a 90 on the first day and a 96 on the next.
“I can’t play worth a damn around here — but when I go away to these events, I apparently can!” he laughed.
“I’d never set my eyes on either of these courses but I’d like to play either one again,” added Stockton.
“I would say they were the best golfing venues in the last three games,” figured Toy. “The grass was very green and tight and the ball stood up nicely.”
Dodie Schiefermeier agreed with Toy’s assessment of the courses. Her low gross of 199 was the best score in the women’s age 75-79 group. With the men and women switching venues on the two days, the two groups never crossed paths. That’s how it goes when the games are spread over a large area.
“I never even saw these guys until I got home,” said Schiefermeier.
The games were well attended by the participants, despite being far away from the Lower Mainland.
“There were over 3,000 people taking part,” said Poulton. “And I heard over 500 were new.
“Our Zone 3 had 397 competitors,” added Toy, who was happy to help the Fraser Valley win top honours for its 288 medals. Second place went to the hosts, with 266.
Boston Bar bowlers Syd Hambly and Lillian Forman also brought back silver medals for most pins over average after six games.