The 55+ BC Games provided a host of golden moments for two Oak Bay athletes.
Howard Pole, an avid runner for 35 years, won gold in the 800 metre event, one of up to 29 in the annual multi-sport event produced by the BC Seniors Games Society. The Games were held Sept. 20 to 24 in Coquitlam.
It was also a golden games for Oak Bay friend Douglas Monds, who won the hammer throw, weight throw and pentathlon in the 85 to 89 division, and silver in shotput, discus and javelin.
With his family cheering him on, Pole, 83, won the 800 with a time of 4:01:22, a full four seconds ahead of the next competitor. The gold adds to his collection of more than 25 medals earned during his racing career.
Initially a 10K runner, he moved to the 800 metre event several years ago for a little easier training. The Shannon Oaks resident makes good use of the nearby running track at Oak Bay High, training every morning before breakfast, and also gets out with a Thursday morning run/walk group that each week explores a different route, ranging from Metchosin to Sidney.
His first foray into running came when his daughter brought home a ParticipACTION brochure from the organization that promotes physical activity and sport participation. “She said, ‘You should try one of these (activities) and I chose running and I had never run before in my life,” Pole recalls.
Training started at just 200 metres, which left him winded his first try, but seeing improvements every day, “it gradually got bigger until I was doing 2 1/2 miles,” Pole says.
Initially drawn to running for the affordability – all you need is a good pair of runners – he also appreciates the physical and mental benefits it provides.
“I noticed after a few months my mind was sharper that before I started running.”
Monds, a former phys-ed teacher at Colquitz junior secondary with a life-long passion for sports, also trains at the Oak Bay track. Cheered on by daughter Emma, he began competing in 1994 and is looking forward to the World Masters Games in New Zealand this spring.
Hammer throw is Monds’ favourite of the field events, appreciating the rhythm of the motion and the distance he can throw it.
The two men both enjoy the opportunity the Games provide to meet other like-minded people.
“When you go to the Senior Games, you meet people you only see once a year and they come from all over B.C. That’s one of the best parts,” Pole says. Some 3,000 athletes participated this year and “they’re all really positive people.”