San Diego is an outdoorsy kind of city, with plenty of sports options available for every person and their dog. (San Diego is a dog sports heaven!) No matter what you like to do, you can probably do it here year-round. And if you need snow to get active, the mountains aren’t far away. But if the cooling weather and shorter days are reducing your motivation to get up and go, the example set by these athletes over 60 should reinvigorate you. These men and women compete in long-distance biking, basketball and BMX racing (!) at ages that will either shame you or inspire you! Caregivers, home care aides and loved ones will enjoy these stories of seniors beating competitors and the clock!
Chuck Wakefield, a 71-year-old Army veteran and retired dentist, is an avid long-distance cyclist. How avid? He recently completed a 3,400-mile ride across the United States to raise awareness of multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. He was just one of the cyclists who completed the ride, which raised $400,000 to support research by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). But Chuck holds this cause close to his heart, because he’s been fighting multiple myeloma himself for 14 years. After he was diagnosed, he endured eight months of chemo followed by a bone marrow transplant and is still treated with chemo regularly. But he has his eye on the next ride supporting the MMRF – a three-day trip from London to Paris. At just under 300 miles, that will seem like a cakewalk compared to his last trek!
Kittie Weston-Knauer also rides a bike competitively, but she isn’t logging cross-country miles. Sixty-nine year-old-Kittie is a BMX racer, and the oldest woman competing in the United States. She grew up a tomboy, with five brothers and a sister egging her on, and never looked back after getting her first bike at 10. She even commuted to her teaching job by bike for eight years! She first encountered BMX racing in her 40’s, when her young son started BMX racing, and challenged her to give it a try. The former tomboy took his bike for a spin, fell in love with the thrill, and went from maternal spectator to BMX competitor just like that. Since then, despite having had both knees and hips replaced, she’s still going strong!
Jim Sweeney plays basketball three times a week, and credits it with keeping his weight down, his sleep solid and his sense of well-being topped up. These are solid self-care accomplishments for any 60-year-old! By day he’s a sports cartoonist, and by nights, weekends and vacations, he’s a globe-trotting pro b-baller with the Federation of International Maxibasketball Association (FIMBA). FIMBA is a global senior sports league for men over age 35 and women over 30. Jim has competed in tournaments all over the world, and he values the tribe he’s found in the men he practices with locally as well as the friends he’s made while playing overseas. He recently became FIMBA’s U.S. representative, which will let him share the benefits of maxibasketball on and off the court.