When Whitehorse runner Donna Jones competes at the Huntsman World Senior Games, she gets results and invitations.
At her second time competing at the event last week in St. George, Utah, Jones once again won hardware and qualified for another major Games.
“I feel really good about it,” said Jones. “There were some amazing things happening. In one of the races a new Games record was set and it’s pretty exciting to be in a field like that.
“One woman and I were challenging each other and beating each other in different events, and that’s always fun when you have that.
“Because I’m getting to the top of my age group, I was just thrilled that I was placing. So I felt quite satisfied with it.”
Jones won five medals in the women 55-59 category last week.
On the track she won silver in the 1,500-metre race (7:10.50), silver in the 3,000-metre (15:19.03), silver in the 400-metre (1:29.77) and bronze in the 800-metre (3:39.31).
“I had never run the 3,000, and not having a track to train on here, it was a new experience and I certainly learned a lot,” said Jones.
Jones also collected silver in the five-kilometre race with a time of 24 minutes and 52 seconds.
Her times qualified her for the U.S.‘s biennial National Senior Games next summer in Minnesota. She is undecided if she will attend, she said.
Jones won three gold and a silver at the 2012 Huntsman Games and also qualified for the Senior Olympic Games that year too, but caught a bug before the event and did not compete.
Her five medals last week brings her up to nine on the year. Jones ran to four medals on the track at the 2014 Canada 55+ Games in August. She led Team Yukon in medals with seven at her first Canada 55+ Games in 2012.
“The days are long and hot because the tracks are completely exposed, and coming from here and it being so hot there, it was great fun meeting people huddling together under any shade we could find,” said Jones of last week’s Games.
“I certainly prefer the longer distances and I’m so in awe of people who can do sprints … And again I’m totally inspired by some of the people in their 80s and 90s doing the events.”
Jones was one of three Whitehorse athletes to compete at the Huntsman Games.
Partner Mike McCann and Bill Curtis competed in cycling. Both have won medals in the past at the Huntsman Games, held each fall in Utah, but came home empty-handed this week.
McCann, who was in Division 1 for men 65-69, placed fifth in the criterium and seventh in the 20-kilometre time trial with a time of 31:04.
Curtis, who competed in Division 2 for men 60-64, placed ninth in the road race and the 40-kilometre time trial (1:10:21), and 11th in the hill climb.
Jones will also be doing some cycling – and swimming – in the coming months. She has registered for the Lava Man Triathlon in Hawaii next March.
“I’m looking forward to that and spending a lot more time in the pool,” said Jones. “And then I have to learn how to swim in the ocean. I’ve never done that before and it’ll be a fun, new challenge I’m looking forward to.
“I think it’s really important to keep trying something that is new and different, and challenging yourself. So that’s going to be my major challenge for 2015.”
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