Hauling home six medals from any athletic competition is noteworthy. Accomplishing that at 89 years of age while setting a record in one of those events is nothing short of astounding.
Myrtle Acton did that in six throwing events at the 55+ BC Games, which took place from Sept. 13 to 17 in Victoria, while also setting a new Canadian record in master’s women’s shot put for her age category.
Acton has lived in various locations throughout the Lower Mainland, settling in Sooke in 2014.
“I’ve always been a bit of gypsy,” she said.
She’s no stranger to the podium or winner’s circle, however, setting records at the 55+ BC Games in 2015 and winning gold medals in the hammer throw, weight throw, and shot put at the games in 2019.
Her continued success earned Acton a place in the BC Amateur Athletics Association’s Hall of Fame and the Canadian Masters’ Hall of Fame in 2021.
“I was pleased and surprised by the nominations,” said Acton, who will celebrate her 90th birthday on Oct. 9. “Winning the national award is a step up from the provincial level. That truly humbled me.”
Although Acton competed in the discus and javelin in high school, she only returned to competing in 1994, the year the 55+ BC Games were launched.
“Back in my day, there weren’t that many opportunities to compete after high school, and life gets in the way,” she explained. “I didn’t think about it until I heard about the 55+ BC Games. I’ve been to everyoneexcept for two and the ones we missed because of COVID. There’s an incredible amount of opportunities to compete that you can do throughout the year in different locations.
“Keeping active with any form of exercise, even walking, keeps us out of senior homes and hospitals,” she said.
“The 55+ BC Games has been extremely successful at that. There are 26 events you can compete in, including walking. I’ve always said it’s too bad that the games are the best-kept secret for many OT of people. Even some of the volunteers I talked to this year hadn’t heard of them. I think they’re wonderful because it gives you something to work toward, and you’re with like-minded people.”
Another part of the attraction of the games is seeing friends and meeting new people, Acton said. “We’re all very competitive, but we’re extremely supportive of each other, and that’s a special feeling we share.”
Members of the Sooke Horseshoe Pitching Association earned a boatload of medals at the 55+ BC Games as well.
Marlene Hargreaves garnered gold in the women’s C and mixed doubles B. Elaine McMath won gold in the women’s A and mixed doubles. Steve Bishop earned a silver in Men’s A. Bronze medal winners include Linda Anderson in women’s B, Ron Dumont in men’s B, Gail Bishop in women’s C, and Ken Bradley in mixed doubles A.
Venues for the games across the Capital Regional District hosted 22 activities and sports, including soccer, snooker, dragon boats, lawn and carpet bowling, archery, softball, cycling, and track and field.