The girl who won a high school track and field state title in Montana more than 40 years ago is back, and she’s ready to take on the 50 and 100 meter dashes at the Virginia Senior Games.
And just like in high school, when she takes to the track this weekend, she’ll just be “happy to run faster than everybody else,” said Janice Gomoke, a physical therapist who treats patients at the Tidewater Physical Therapy Western Branch location in Chesapeake.
The Virginia Senior Games, an annual athletic competition open to Commonwealth residents 50 and up, gives senior athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents to run, throw, hit, shoot and play in more than 20 sporting events, like softball, track and field and table tennis.
More than 800 athletes are participating in the Senior Games.
If Gomoke places high enough in the 50 or 100 meter dash Saturday, May 17, she could qualify for the National Senior Games, held in Minnesota in 2015, literally taking her closer to her trailblazing high school days in Montana.
“Back in the day,” as she lovingly refers to her high school time, Gomoke ran on their first female track team.
After high school and college, in 1984, Gomoke followed her U.S. Coast Guard husband and moved to Virginia where she’s a practicing physical therapist helping patients of all ages live their most active lives.
“I like to practice what I preach and teach—fitness through the ages,” she said of her treatment philosophy.
Now in her sixties, Gomoke still works out every day, participating in boot camp and interval training classes at her local gym.
Although she said she didn’t train for the Senior Games, she’s on a running club and while she’ll tell you she’s not a distance runner, enjoys running 5, 8 and 10K races.
“I want to be a good example to seniors,” Gomoke said. “Just because you’re older, you can still be an active, older person and keep yourself together.”
Admittedly, Gomoke said she’s a little nervous, but truly taking on the challenge for “the fun of it and the camaraderie.”
Gomoke will run the 50 meter at 9 a.m. and the 100 meter at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. No matter what the outcome of her race, she’s going to celebrate and enjoy her accomplishment.
“You don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “You don’t have to run like you did when you were a kid, but you’ve got to be doing something.”
And if you don’t win? Well that’s ok, too.
“You know you beat the person on the couch every time.”
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