Valley-Wide OLDlympics continues to attract area seniors to challenging athletic competitions

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The field of senior men, each 50 or older, start off in a competitive 1,500-meter run during the OLDlympics track and field events held annually by Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District at Hemet High School Stadium track. They all finished. Tony Ault photo

The annual Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District’s OLDlympics continues to attract hundreds of older residents, some in their mid-90s, to compete in 18 physically and mentally challenging events at different parks, mobile home parks, libraries and schools.

Perhaps the most athletically challenging of these events was the track and field competition Saturday, Sept. 28, which saw 118 seniors compete, including Jack Honberger at the age of 95.

Joining the track and field events was world champion senior athlete Fred Lindsley, 74, who won several of the running events including the 800-meter dash. Lindsley, with three other senior runners, still may hold the world record for a relay race earned in France.

The field and track events were held in the Hemet High School Stadium Saturday where some of the high school varsity players watched their elders run well.

The winners will pick up their ribbons and medals at the OLDlympics Awards Banquet Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Valley-Wide’s regional park in San Jacinto on Esplanade Avenue.

The 35th annual OLDlympics spans 18 days from Sept. 20 to Oct. 8 each year and includes such events as swimming, tennis, horseshoes, table tennis, pickleball, chair volleyball, bowling, bench press, golf and lawn bowling along with some mentally challenging games of eight ball billiards, bingo, cribbage, Scrabble, Texas Hold’em, and tournament blackjack.

Valley-Wide’s concept is “You are never too old to compete and have fun if you are 50 or older.”

The OLDlympics were created to provide an opportunity for seniors in the area communities to compete against their peers in regulated events that are traditional, relaxed and informal.

Still on tap for the OLDlympics this week are cribbage, Sunday, Oct. 6, at 901 Esplanade Ave., in San Jacinto; the Fun-Tathlon, which included six events in one: Shuffleboard, Billiards, Lawn Bowling, Golf Putting, Dart Throwing and Horseshoes, Monday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m. at Golden Village Palms, 3600 W. Florida Ave., in Hemet; nine-hole golf Saturday, Oct. 5, with a shotgun start at 6:30 a.m. with check-in at Echo Hills Golf Course, 545 E. Thornton Ave., in Hemet and the final day of lawn bowling will require registration by Friday, Oct. 5, at 5 p.m., and the event will be held at Gibbel Park at Devonshire and Kirby avenues in Hemet. Not all events are open for competition without pre-registration, but the public is invited to watch all the competitions.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.