Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for biking


Do you yearn for more physical activity in your life – perhaps a sport from your youth? You may have a secret passion for something you have not yet tried.  Opportunities abound at any age, so why not explore them?

There is a world of friendly competitive sports out there for the senior athlete, be you a novice or from the world of the elite. From alpine skiing to weightlifting, there is a sport (or two) for each of us.

Many organizations open opportunities to train and compete with those in our own age group. To offer you a smattering of those, let’s start with the Senior Games.

National Senior Games Association

The National Senior Games Association(NSGA) offers competition at the state and national level in 20 different sports categories for athletes age 50 or over.

Athletes compete in games at the state level in even numbered years, i.e., this year and meet the minimum performance standards shown on the website in order to qualify to go to the national games in the odd numbered years.

Contact information for each state is listed on the NSGA website. The 2019 national games will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico in June 2019. You will have plenty of company as the national games usually draw 10,000 – 12,000 participants.

Sound interesting? Take a look at the state game schedule. Not every state offers every sport and most states will allow qualifying for out-of-state athletes. For example, my state doesn’t offer road racing, so in past years I have participated and qualified at the Delaware State Games.

Huntsman World Senior Games

The Huntsman World Senior Games have been around for more than 30 years and hold competition in 20 different sports. Where NSGA changes the locations of the biennial games, the Huntsman Games are held annually and always in Utah. Again, they are open to athletes age 50 and over, through 100+ years.

The Huntsman Games use the NSGA minimum participation standards. Contact, registration and information on each of the sports offered is available on the Huntsman website.

USA Track & Field (USATF)

Where other organizations catering to senior athletes offer a variety of sports, USATF is specifically track and field events, which still provides a wide variety of venues.

The Masters category starts at age 30 with USATF. Keep in mind though that competition is held within 5-year age groups. Currently, I’m in the group Female AG 70-74.

USATF Masters events are held regionally and nationally. Information on international venues for Masters is also available on their website.

Beyond Athletic Competition

Travel Opportunity

Many organizations have events locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. If travel is one of your joys, sports make a wonderful excuse to take a second vacation.

After your competition or training, spend a bit more time in tourist mode, kick back and enjoy. And while you are busy preparing for your event, the rest of the family can take in some local color.

By example, several of my siblings accompanied me to Senior Games in Minneapolis one year where they happened across hundreds of bicyclists coming down the street in the ‘Freedom from Pants’ Bike Ride, which was pretty much like it sounds. We followed that up with a much more sedate evening with the Minneapolis Orchestra accompanied by a choir from Cuba.

Family & Friends Support

Get your family and friends into the spirit. I’ve seen two and three generations of families supporting their senior family members in competition.

After many seasons of freezing on the sidelines or sitting on hard grandstand seats in support of your children or grandchildren, give them the opportunity to be there to cheer you on. What an example you will set.

Senior Athlete Websites

Websites that cater to senior athletes offer inspirational articles about people like ourselves who have been late starters or recently renewed their interest in sports. Others offer information on training specific to the older athlete, in addition to health-related issues.

Join as a Spectator

If you are not yet ready to jump in as a participating athlete, attend and enjoy any of the above as a spectator. USATF has the most accessible regional competitions with many indoors where there is the opportunity to witness our counterparts sharing competition and camaraderie.

What do you do to stay fit and healthy? Have a chat with your health care professional and get the green light. If you have recently embarked on a new activity or participated in a senior competition, what was your experience? Please share it with us in the comments below.

This is an adapted version of my article previously published on



Localeikki – An App for Active Travelers

What kind of a name is that?  That was my first question when I read about this app.  The second question was “what does it do?” Both are answered on the website, but I’ll offer my brief version of how it works.

The app is basically a national database of recommended locations and groups,

photoat this point limited to the activities of running, biking, walking and hiking. The user can benefit from and add to the database in two ways:

1) Use the app when traveling (or even at home), to determine 1) places or courses near you and 2) any groups that meet anywhere near you for outdoor activities. The group information may also include details beyond directions and time (moderate skill level, group runs at an 8-minute pace, all levels welcome, etc.).  There is a “search” category to plan ahead before visiting a locality.

2) Add local information, such as a favorite trail or running/hiking/biking route and/or add a “group” activity.  Input from local outdoor enthusiasts – that’s you and me – will be important since we usually know the terrain better than the average concierge or family friend sending the visitor out the door for some exercise.

As someone who rambles around this world a bit, I decided the purchase of this app on my iphone would be $2 well spent.

After making my purchase, I had a brief problem getting it to load. I emailed for help and co-founder Tracy McMillan responded, quickly resolving the issue.  I deleted the app and reloaded, which took all of about two minutes.

My first use of the localeikki app was to check out running trails and running groups close to home (see #1 above).  The app brought up running groups a hundred miles away.  Oh, we can do better than that Central Pennsylvania. I immediately moved into “add” mode (see #2 above) with a favorite course

Towpath at Wildwood Park

Towpath at Wildwood Park

in the “places” category. I talked with the group leader for a couple of my groups runs and we added those as well. Adding a place or a group was a smooth process.  Inserting a a photo and the map link was a breeze.

The app is still early in development. Unveiled in August, it may take a bit of time before the local information fills out. Localeikki is encouraging users to bring anything to their attention that would improve its use.

The name?  Well, “leikki” in Finnish means “play.”  The “loca” comes from use of the term in local movements such as purchasing food grown locally.  The app gives users information to play local, wherever they travel and where the locals have added information on their favorite routes and groups.

So, why use this app?  For me, it puts everything under one roof.  I don’t need to search multiple sites for trails or running clubs. After the prompt response from Tracy, and the ease I found in using this app, I volunteered to be an ambassador for localeikki. 

Do you look for local groups or trails when you travel? I’d love to hear whether you are using the localeikki app or what methods you use to find local trails, tracks, courses and how you find local groups for a casual run, ride or hike.

In the meantime, I’m out the door for a run, playing local.