Look to the Horizon – National Senior Games 2021

As I look down at the open spaces on my running calendar, I’m lifting my gaze to the horizon, a time horizon.

This beautiful horizon from the the University of New Mexico track – NSGA 2019 extends to the Sandia Mountains. For all of us who looked forward to Senior State Games this summer, many states wisely cancelled those games. For those of us who didn’t have the opportunity for competition this summer, the horizon now moves to National Senior Games in 2021.

The rotation for senior games is generally state qualifying games held in even-numbered years, national games competition in odd-numbered years. COVID-19 has thrown some qualifying problems into the rotation.

So this year, the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) has thankfully added a one-time adjustment to accommodate qualification and registration of athletes who were unable to compete at the state level.

NSGA will hold the 2021 competition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, November 5 – 18, 2021. The one-time change below will be helpful for many, whether or not you participated in past games:

  • Athletes who qualified for the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, NM at their state’s senior games will also qualify in the respective sports/events for the National Senior Games in 2021.
  • In states that did not hold qualifying Games or specific sports/events in 2020, athletes from that state’s senior games who qualified for the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, AL and/or 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, NM will qualify in the respective sports/events for the 2021 National Senior Games (i.e. qualifiers from 2016 and/or 2018 respective sports/events from state senior games).
  • For qualified athletes a Priority Registration Period will be offered which will be followed by an Open Registration Period.
  • For athletes who were unable to attend or qualify at state senior games in 2020, NSGA will accommodate athletes age 50+ as of December 31, 2020. The number of registrants may be limited for certain sports.

So, it seems if you qualified and attended national senior games in the last two cycles, you’re golden. If you did not qualify previously or this is your first interest or first age eligibility, there will be an open registration period, following the time period where qualified athletes could register. For more extensive information, here is a link to the How-to-Qualify information on the NSGA website.

November 2021seems far away, but like I said – look to the horizon. I for one will need that time to build back up after health issues took me away from running for two months.

Photos below are from NSGA Albuquerque NM 2019 5K at Balloon Park with Katherine Switzer and Lennie Magida, Minneapoliss 2017 10K at the MN State Fairgrounds & 2013 5K Cleveland Zoo with Gary Grobman, fellow Pennsylvanian.

What is on your running horizon? Are you deferring for races several years out? Have you taken some downtown (planned or unplanned) during the pandemic? Will we be comfortable traveling and competing in 2021 (please say it is so).


  1. Hi Mary Lou
    I can honestly say there was a new horizon Wednesday at the Harrisburg Mile. They really had their act together. If more races would have considered the rolling start approach there would have been less cancelled runs this summer. Masks and social distancing was prevalent. It was great to see some old running buddies out and about.

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