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Inspiration abounds in Forever Young 8K

Don Fennell   Sep-12-2017

With race participants looking on, Forever Young 8K co-ordinator John Young (left) and Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap pose for a selfie outside the Richmond Olympic Oval on Sunday. The 8K, hosted by the oval, attracted some 250 walkers and runners aged 55 and over

Photo by Chung Chow

Bina Henderson of New Westminster, take a bow.

The Royal City resident completed the very long 8K distance at the 2017 Forever Young race Sunday in Richmond in just under two hours. But even more noteworthy is that Henderson is 88 years old, the oldest person in a field of 250 senior walkers and runners. She received a bottle of champagne for her efforts.



Now in its third year, the annual event affords those 55 and older an opportunity to celebrate being an active senior and to set an example for others to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

“We don’t want to be a small part of a big running event, we want to have our our running event,” explains event founder and race co-ordinator John Young. “It always gives me pleasure to note that the first-place finishers are 55 or older, not the usual 20 and 30 somethings. We are the only race in Canada that is specifically for those 55-plus. Seniors deserve recognition too.”

The 8K event builds on the Forever Young Club which he started a few years earlier. Twice each week, walkers and runners from throughout the region meet up to tackle one of more than a dozen club-determined courses.

Further advancing the camaraderie that is so prominent within the club, the 8K also gives those senior athletes the opportunity to further challenge themselves. Each participant, regardless of where they finish, are deservedly proud to wear the medals and event t-shirts symbolic of their physical achievements.

Blessed with near-perfect running weather, participants were also treated to spectacular natural scenery as they walked and ran along the north dyke and circled back through Terra Nova to the dyke and home to the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Young said the oval also lived up to its reputation to stage a “fabulous” event, which marked its inaugural year as hosts of the Forever Young 8K.

“And one great feature of our event is the generous number of draw prizes, with a one to two ratio, available to participants. We had over 100 draw prizes. Everyone agreed they are looking forward to coming back for 2018,” said Young.

Walter Downey of Vancouver was first overall in a time of 31 minutes, 50 seconds, a very respectable time for the 55- to 59-year-old age group. Last year’s winner, Craig Premack from Burnaby was close behind at 33:35. The top female finisher was Kelly Rowson from Surrey in a time of 40:40 in the 55 to 59 age category.

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