TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It will be roughly a 30-minute drive for Ray Lebowitz, pictured in white, from his home in Coconut Creek to the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar to compete in the track and field events at the 2019 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana.
It will be the first time in eight years Lebowitz has stepped onto the track for a Florida Senior Games competition. He is registered for the 50-, 100-, and 200-meter dash events and the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
“I haven’t been competing the last couple of years because I don’t want to travel so much,” he said. “I qualified in the Delray Beach Games and was at the Broward County Games. So, I will be at the State Games this year.”
Lebowitz passed on traveling to Polk County for the 2011-12 Games, to Lee County for the 2013-14 Games, and to Clearwater for the 2015-18 Games.
Truly, it must have been the travel time that kept Lebowitz away from the Annual Games, because he definitely was competitive from the time he started running in the sprint and jumps.
From 2000 to 2010, Lebowitz won over 20 gold medals and won seven consecutive long jump gold medals between 2004 and 2010. He still holds the long jump record in the 65-69 age group, that he set in 2004 with a leap of 15 feet 1 inch. His record-setting triple jump of 30 feet 1 inch in 2008 still stands in the 65-69 age group. He also set a long jump record in the 70-74 age group in 2009 that has since been broken.
“I do well at the long jump and triple jump but not so much the high jump,” Lebowitz said. “The 50- and 100-meter dash are my best on the track. The 200 meters is hard. I’m not expecting too much in that event.”
Besides participating in Senior Games events, Lebowitz stays active in the sport as a track official at local high school track meets at Coral Springs High School. When not officiating, he takes the opportunity to train at that location.
His roots on the track run deep as Lebowitz was on the Abraham Lincoln High School team in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was the captain of his cross country team. Upon joining the U.S. Army, he ran on 14th Armored Cavalry Battalion Team as part of his regiment in Germany from 1958-60.
“I took 40 years off and resumed in the summer of 1999 when I moved to Florida,” he said.
His 40-year absence was due to his work in the New York City Post Office and the Brooklyn and Staten Island Fire Departments.
Now 20 years into his second go-around on the track, Lebowitz credits his running and jumping to his continued good health.
“It keeps the blood moving,” he said nonchalantly.
For the 28th Annual Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, Lebowitz will move into the 80-84-year-old age group as he celebrated his 80th birthday on July 3.
Welcome back, Ray. Glad we could help to make it more convenient for you with a quicker trip to the track.
The 2019 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, will be held in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, December 6-15, for athletes age 50 and over. Registration is currently open for 23 sports with information available at www.floridaseniorgames.com. Registration fees vary by sport and the online registration deadline is November 17.
About the Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana
The Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Foundation works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide.