Dot Sowerby of Greensboro is making the most of her first Masters meet.
Sowerby, an 81-year-old grandmother of five, ran the 800 meters Thursday, 400 meters Friday and is scheduled to run the 100 meters and 1,500 meters today, as well as the 200 meters Sunday.
Including Sowerby, there were only two participants in the 800 and three in the 400. The lack of competitors in the women's 80-84 age group speaks to just how truly impressive it is that she competes in so many events. She offered some insight into why she still runs.
"The older you are, the less competition there is — so I like to keep going," she said, laughing.
Originally from White Plains, N.Y., Sowerby has been running competitively since she was 40; she played basketball and soccer in college at Hollins (Va.).
"When I came along in high school and college, girls didn't run," she said. "They didn't have track for girls, so I took it up a little later on. But growing up, I always liked to run."
Sowerby also competes in the Senior Games. She made it to nationals in Cleveland, Ohio last year and medaled in the 5,000 and 800. She trains at a sports club in Greensboro and belongs to the Greensboro Running Club.
She explained during her interview that she has spasmodic dysphonia, which is a condition that sometimes makes it difficult for her to talk, but she isn't willing to let that stop her.
"It doesn't hinder my running," she said with a big smile.
City aiming for 2016 meet
Meet director Noel Ruebel, a Masters track veteran, said he hopes Winston-Salem can land the championships again. Next year’s meet will be in Jacksonville, Fla., and the 2016 site will be announced in December.
“I think a big advantage to us is that the JDL Fast Track will host the Indoor Championships in March,” Ruebel said. “And from all indications, everybody has given me positive feedback about their experience here in Winston.”
Ruebel said that the Winston-Salem Convention and Visitors Bureau will submit a bid for the 2016 meet.
“This was our first time doing this so we are learning as we go, but I think it’s gone smoothly,” Ruebel said Friday.
Weiner enjoys multitasking
Bob Weiner, the media chair for the USATF National Masters, is a busy man this weekend.
Aside from organizing the media coverage of the meet, he is competing in two track events in the men's 65-69 age group.
"It's been tough," he said. "It's really impossible to do both (coordinate the media as well as compete), but I'm doing it."
Weiner, 67, ran the 2,000 steeplechase Friday in 10 minutes, 18.38 seconds to beat his previous personal record in the 65-69 age group by one second. He is scheduled to run the 1,500 on Sunday.
He said he is extremely pleased with how well Wake Forest and Winston-Salem have hosted the meet.
"I'm sure we're going to want to come back," he said. "We're all having a lot of fun here and it's a hugely successful meet."
He has always had a passion for track and cross country, and participated in both in high school and college. After graduating college, he took a two-year hiatus from running but picked it back up at the age of 25 and has competed in the Masters since he was 30, the earliest age at which one can participate. He lives in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the Potomac Valley Track Club.
Weiner helped create the Masters Media Committee in 2003 because he believed the meet wasn't being covered as well as it should've been.
"I just believed that there needed to be national media in Masters track," he said. "We have all these Olympians and world champions, and nobody knows. It's also brings tremendous health advantages for all the athletes who compete here, and people need to know about it."
Sabio wins age group
Lesha Sabio of Winston-Salem, running in her first competitive race since having a baby 10 months ago, won her age group (35s) in the 10,000 meters Thursday in 42 minutes, 47.76 seconds.
“She did well, and she was excited with her finish,” husband Hernan Sabio said. “I was very proud of how she trained leading up to the race. It was a big day for her.”
Hernan, one of the many volunteers from the Twin City Track Club, spent most of Friday at the finish line during various races.
Sabio, an avid runner, said the meet was going pretty smoothly after a rough start on Thursday. Many events ended up being delayed on Thursday, but on Friday the events moved more quickly.
"I think we are actually ahead of schedule," Sabio said. "It took a little while the first day for everybody to get the hang of it, but overall it's gone very smooth."