Calvin McDonald can pinpoint the day he rediscovered his passion for track and field.
After having taken a three-decade hiatus, the former high school track standout decided to sign up for the Canadian Masters Track and Field Championships held in Saint John five years ago.
Just as an official called his name in the javelin event, the memories suddenly came flooding back.
“It just brought back old memories and all those good feelings associated with competition,” said McDonald. “I had a lot of fun.”
Since then he’s been signing up for as many track events as he can.
Naturally, McDonald will be competing once again at the Canadian championships and the North American, Central American and Caribbean World Masters Athletics that will be held at the Canada Games Stadium from August 9 to 12.
The difference between this world competition, which is open to athletes ages 30 and older, and others is that there’s a special emphasis placed on participation, regardless of skill level. The four-day event will showcase athletes with a range of abilities, like former Canadian Olympian Paul Osland, an 800-metre runner who competed in Seoul, Korea in 1988, as well as recreational athletes such as McDonald who still have a passion for the sport.
So far, about 350 people have signed on from 11 different countries, including Canada, U.S., Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad-Tobago and the Dominican Republic.
Competing in three different events, including javelin, discus and shot put, McDonald isn’t anticipating gold medals, but he is after some personal bests, like in the discus event where he’ll try to better his best mark of 33 metres.
For the last month and a half he’s joined eight other men ages 30 to 60 who have been practising at the Canada Games Stadium and plan to compete in August. Showing up at least twice a week, they’ve been sharpening their skills with the help of certified coaches.
They’re all there to see how they match up against some of the best athletes in their age category. But they are also in it for a bit of fun.
About 100 athletes from around the province are expected to sign up, which is alright by McDonald.
“The way of thinking back in the 1950s was once you got to the age of 30, you’re done with track and field, you’re a has-been. The way of thinking today is to just participate, have fun. I might not get a medal or get a personal best but I’ll have fun trying.”
Mike Robinson, a member of the group, will try his luck in four events, including the 100-m sprint, javelin, long jump and shot put. He’s been busy all winter training for the August spectacle.
“I’ve played a lot of sports all my life so this is an opportunity to stay fit and just to get out there and have fun,” said Robinson. “There are really good athletes coming. Some people in their 60s are still running 12 seconds in a 100-m sprint. It will be really something special.”
Head organizer of the Port City event Bill MacMackin has been busy preparing for the international event and says he’s been pleasantly surprised by the number of New Brunswickers registering to compete.
“That’s what it’s about,” said MacMackin. “We want people regardless if they’ve been track athletes before or they’d like to start now to come out and give it a try. There will be a lot of great competition and a great spirit of participation.”
To register, contact MacMackin at www.nccwma2012.com.