Louise Reed (right) and fellow Island sprinter Marg Radcliffe ran the sprint for the international virtual track meet at the Vanier track on July 31. Photo by Mike Chouinard

85-year-old Island woman sprints in worldwide virtual track meet

‘A lot of the old dears don’t want to be out there sprinting, or doing what I do’

Toronto was slated to be the host city for the 2020 World Masters Track and Field Championships. But like most other sports competitions, the July event was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

As a consolation, a trio of creative competitors designed a worldwide virtual track meet from July 18 to Aug. 2. During that time, athletes could compete in their event(s) of choice and submit the results.

The competition was open to athletes 35 years and older.

Louise Reed, an 85-year-old sprinter from Comox, submitted times from four events. Friday at the Vanier track, she ran the 100- and 200-metre dashes in a friendly race against Lake Cowichan athlete Marg Radcliffe, who competes in the 75-79 age division. Over the years, both athletes have won numerous medals at the 55+ BC Games, formerly known as the B.C. Seniors Games.

The races were not part of an organized competition, but there were three people on hand to assist with starting and timing.

Reed’s other events were the 400-metres and the power walk — which has been her focus over the past year.

“I’ve completed my 5,000-metre power walk,” she said before hitting the track Friday. “I had a good time: 41:43. I was very happy. And I’ve completed my 400.”

Earlier in the week, she ran a solo quarter-mile (400m) in two minutes, 22 seconds.

“It’s tough by yourself,” Reed said. “A lot of the old dears don’t want to be out there sprinting, or doing what I do. They’re happy to stay home and have a cup of tea.”

Before Friday, the last time Reed had raced in sprinting was at the 55+ Games last year in Kelowna.

She had been looking forward to competing in Toronto, which is home to her children and grandchildren. She joked about adding cardboard cutouts of family members to ‘cheer her on’ in Friday’s races.

“I’m mostly in it because I want to keep fit for the rest of my life. And I want to feel good, and no injuries. I haven’t had an injury in seven years.

“That’s all I want out of this game that I’m playing here,” Reed added. “I’m the foolish one. But I love it. I love punishing myself.”


Louise Reed from Comox gets ready for her sprint. Photo by Mike Chouinard

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