Manawa’s Duncan Beck is still winning track events at the age of 72 and has the medals to prove it.
He attended his first senior track meet in June and since then has competed at the Iowa Senior Games, Wyoming Senior Olympics and Minnesota Senior Games. His next trip will be to Rochester, Michigan, for another competition.
“I like the camaraderie and talking to people,” he said.
Beck had heard about the competitions 10 years prior to attending the 2013 Wisconsin Senior Olympics in Milwaukee.
“I thought, ‘I can do that jump’ and I can,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”
The cost to enter each Senior Olympics is $25 to $70, which covers the expenses for timers, judges and groundskeeping.
Beck competes in the high jump, standing broad jump, running broad jump and 50-meter dash, depending on what is offered at each site.
His best event is the high jump, but his favorite is the broad jump.
“I haven’t placed in it yet,” he said. “These guys are really good.”
He said the broad jump was his specialty during high school. Now, as a senior Olympian, he is improving each time he competes.
Hundreds of people attend the senior sporting events. Besides track, the competitions include bowling, swimming, biking and shooting.
Everybody competes together in the track events, with the results calculated in five-year increments.
“You don’t know who is competing against you,” Beck said.
One time, after two bad jumps, he realized no one in his age category had completed the jump. As the final jumper on his third and final try, he was very careful to get a shorter but clean jump to win the gold medal.
Beck saw a 94-year-old man compete in a 50-yard dash, but used a cane to walk to the starting line. He also saw an 84-year-old woman compete in the 1,500-meter dash.
Beck’s most memorable win was defeating the Wyoming state champion in the high jump.
“He is very competitive,” Beck’s wife, Bernice, said.
She is supportive and travels with him to every event.
“These events promote health and well-being of senior citizens,” she said.
Like any serious athlete, Beck has set goals. He wants to win the broad jump and wants to beat two athletes he saw at the Wisconsin Senior Olympics.
He also wants to compete in the national event in 2015.
He has already qualified for nationals by placing in the top three at several state events. Now he needs to stay healthy enough to attend the event next July.
He also has one more goal.
“I would like to go to all 50 states, but it’s a long drive to Hawaii,” he said.