As a kid, I loved watching the Summer Olympic Games. Witnessing the speed, grace and strength of youthful male and female athletes always made me wonder, “What if that were me?” But, as that kid, I couldn’t decide which sport appealed to me the most and, quite honestly, I couldn’t envision myself getting up before dawn to train before school.
My, how that has changed! I’m often out of bed by 4 a.m. to get my outdoor workout done, especially during the hot Las Vegas summers when temperatures are more than 90 degrees before sunrise.
So it’s exciting to think that I could compete on the world stage as a mature athlete (a term my inner critic continues to laugh hysterically at). Though I may not have the “world class” ability to vie for medals, it would still be an incredible experience to participate in either the World Masters Games or the inaugural Americas Masters Games. Both events welcome mature athletes!
Organizers of the World Masters Games, set for Apr. 21-30, 2017 in New Zealand, expect 25,000 athletes and para-athletes from 100 countries to compete in 28 sports and 45 disciplines. The minimum age for the majority of events is 30 with age categories in 5-year groupings. Registration starts at $295NZD (or $196.95USD as of 3/2/2016) for athletes.
The overall sports schedule is posted and each sport offers more detail. For instance, I know race walking will take place over several days: 1500m on Apr. 24, 3000m on Apr. 26, and 5000m on Apr. 28. Cycling’s 20K time trial is set for Apr. 23 and its track events are Apr. 26-28. The sprint and Olympic-distance triathlon events are set for Apr. 29. Theoretically, I could participate in all three race walking events, the 20K time trial, and triathlon.
I believe it’s important that athletes know the dates of their competitions way ahead of an event so they can start evaluating possibilities, estimating expenses and budgets, and developing training strategies.
Much closer to home is this year’s Americas Masters Games, set for Aug. 26-Sept. 4 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Organizers are expecting upwards of 10,000 amateur athletes, aged 35 to over 100, from around the world to compete for honors in 25 sports. The cost of registration starts at $215CAD (or $160.51USD as of 3/2/2016) plus fees and tax for a single sport and $75CAD ($55.85USD) for additional sport.*
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the final schedule of events. Because Vancouver is one of my favorite destinations and much more affordable (a.k.a. realistic) for me to travel to than New Zealand, I really want to get started on determining travel expenses, researching hotel possibilities (thereby perhaps snagging a deal!), and developing a training plan for three sports. But I don’t want to waste time on speculation, risk disappointment, or possibly lose money.
In December via email, I asked organizers what the dates were for my events. Here’s the answer:
Since then, I’ve asked via email, Twitter, and Facebook when they expect to announce the final schedule of events. No word yet, but here’s what I saw on the website last night:
With less than six months to train for three sports, I’d probably be better off just signing up for the 5000m race walk and look at including all three for the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah in early October (just down the road from Vegas!). But to travel all the way to Vancouver and not to participate…yes, I just want to have fun!
As you can tell, being patient isn’t a strong point of mine, but I guess I’ll just have to wait a little bit more.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to workout, dream of international sport glory, and ask myself “Why not me?”
If you have any information on these or other Americas Masters Games event dates, please let me know!
*I’m not sure if that additional fee only applies if I registered for cycling and triathlon (two different sports) and not if I signed up for three events within a sport (i.e. javelin, discus, and 5K race walk in Track & Field, also known as Athletics). Yes, I’m one of those people who like things to be crystal clear!