Cat Nielsen (left) and 82-year-old Shirley Reaman were members of the Zone 4 team at the Alberta 55 plus provincial games in Calgary last week. Each picked up five medals at the games and in total the Zone 4 track and field team won 35 medals. (Byron Hackett/ Advocate Staff)

Huge medal haul for track and field team at Alberta 55 plus provincials

At the Alberta 55 plus provincial games in Calgary, the Zone 4 track and field team had a remarkable performance.

The team totalled 35 medals in the two-day competition from Aug. 10-11, including 25 gold. The ladies won an incredible 20 gold to lead the way on the women’s side.

One of the many stars of the Zone 4 entry was 82-year-old Shirley Reaman of Red Deer, who won five gold medals at the games. She brought home gold in the javelin, discus, shot put, long jump and 4×100 metre relay.

Reaman said she’s only been doing track and field since the ripe old age of 69, but has been to a few national games and said she’s still motivated by the friendly competition, but also the camaraderie.

“I’ve been an athlete all my life, played a lot of ball in Red Deer and won a lot of championships so I had that natural instinct. I just enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s something that when you get older, you can encourage other people if they want to be encouraged or you can so ‘oh my I’m this old, I can’t do anything’.”

At the games back in Fort McMurray several years ago, Reaman said she was checking out some of the competitors and thought she could keep up. Now, competing against entries all across the province, she said it’s still a rush just like when she first started playing sports.

“They are out to beat us and that’s exhilarating. It’s just like if you were 18 or 19 out on the track. I’m grateful I went,” she said.

Since she won gold in Calgary, Reaman also qualified for nationals which are in New Brunswick in 2018. She hopes to make the trip and visit some family along the way. Even in Calgary last week, along with her husband of 60 years, she also had her grandkids and great grandkids watching her compete.

Cat Nielsen, who Reaman called a “mentor” also picked up five gold. She won in the long jump, discus, 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay. Nielsen said the whole team of ladies at the games were exceptional motivation for each other.

“All the women athletes came home with gold medals. It wasn’t just Shirley and I,” Nielsen said.

“They’re inspiring. We all get along really well and we’re all very supportive and that’s the thing with the games, it’s still a competition but it’s for the love of the sport and the camaraderie.”

Birdie Forde of Stettler also picked up five medals, she was the third member of the 4x100m relay team and also won in the 200m, 800m, 1500m and 3000m.

Lacombe’s Susan MacDonald wasn’t far behind with four medals of her own. She won gold in javelin, the 800m, 1500m and the 3000m.

Red Deer’s Ellie Armstrong won gold in the discus and shot put.

Brenda Feser won gold in the discus.

On the men’s side, Merv Armstrong picked up gold in the Javelin, discus, 100m and long jump. Duane Smethurst finished first in the javelin and won silver in the, 100m, discus and shot put. Darry Skjvaeland won silver in his age group for javelin and Allen Elliott brought home bronze in men’s 80-85 javelin.

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