FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2020
CONTACT: Nick Gandy, email@example.com or (850) 322-3404
Florida Senior Games Athletes of All Ages Break 15 Records on the Track
MELBOURNE – The 15 Florida Senior Games Track and Field records set Saturday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Viera ranged from Toccata Murphy’s under 14 second sprint in the 50-54 age group to James Bell’s 33 second run in the 50 meter dash to set the 95-99 age group record.
Bell, who made the quick trip to Viera from Sebastian to compete in the 1500 meter Power Walk, the 50 meter and 100 meter dash. The native of Miami and a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Marines, is now the record holder in all three events in the 95-99 age group. Bell is one of six athletes over the age of 90 competing in the 2020 Florida Senior Games.
When Bell crossed the finish line in the 100 meter dash to establish a 95-99 age group record with a time of 1:11.80, he was greeted with the loudest round of applause of the day by the fans in the bleachers.
Bell was accompanied by his son, Shaun, on Saturday, who claimed his father walks two miles a day between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. He will mow his yard if Shaun doesn’t show up on time to accomplish the chore.
“He’s stubborn and stays active,” Shaun said. “I guess that’s what keeps him going.”
James Bell joins bowlers Jack Appel and Stan Corwin to win 2020 Florida Senior Games gold medals in the 95-99 age group. John Mataya was a 90-94 age group shuffleboard gold medalist and Don Husmann won gold medals in Racquetball and Table Tennis gold medals in the 90-94 age group. Clem Moorman can join the 90+ club Sunday and is registered to compete in three field events (discus, javelin and shot put) at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy.
While Bell was born in 1924, on the other end of the spectrum, Toccata Murphy, from Alexis, North Carolina, was born 45 years later, in 1969. She blazed to records in the 100 meter dash with a time of 13.90, the 200 meter with a time of 25.21 and the 400 meter run at 1:07.01.
All three of Murphy’s gold medal winning performances in the 50-54 age group were the quickest times in the 29-year history of the event in the Florida Senior Games. Her 200 meter time was four seconds faster than the mark set by Donna Settles in 2000.
She also ran the final leg of the 4×100 meter relay team, along with Denise Chambers, Sonder Hawkins and Raquel Bethel.
In the 1500 meter run, the first four women’s finishers established new age group records. April Hernandez, of Jupiter, was the first record setter, in the 50-54 age group with a time of 5:38.65. The next finisher, Roxanne Springer, of Durham, NC, set a new 55-59 age group mark with a time of 5:50.40. Next came Estela Medina, from Miami, crossing the finish line at 6:13.01 for a new 60-64 age group record. Finally, Ann McCormack, of Sarasota, set a 65-69 age group record at 6:13.76. Medina made a final sprint to cross the finish line just ahead of McCormick.
Susan Cooke’s two laps around the track in 2:55.87, set a new record in the 800 meter run for the 60-64 age group. Her time was nine seconds faster than the 26-year old record set by For Lauderdale’s Lupe Parsons in 1994. Cooke, of Tampa, also holds the 55-59 age group record set in 2016, the overall best time in the event, of 2:45.01.
The morning began with the 1500 meter Race Walk and Dave Swarts, of Jackson, Michigan, returned to set his second Florida Senior Games Race Walk record in approximately 15 hours. His time of 6:51.24 is the new overall best time in the event and a new 55-59 age group mark. He accomplished the same two feats Friday evening in the 5000 meter Race Walk.
Martha Ann Harsh, of Fort Lauderdale, set a new record in the 70-74 age group with a time of 9:56.85.
The final day of the 2020 Florida Senior Games begins with the 5K Road Race, at 7:00 a.m., in conjunction with the Pineapple Man Triathlon Run at Ryckman Park in Melbourne. The field events of the Track and Field Meet at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy begin at 8:00 a.m. with the long jump and discus events. The final events, the triple jump and shot put are scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. Powerlifting will be contested at the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel beginning at 9:00 a.m.
The 2020 Florida Senior Games are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation, the official sports promotion and development organization of the State of Florida. In conjunction with the Space Coast Florida, Gainesville Sports Commission, Florida’s Sports Coast, Polk County Sports Marketing, St. Pete Clearwater Sports and Events and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.
Schedule for Sunday, December 13
Road Race – 5K, Ryckman Park, Melbourne Beach, 7:05 a.m.
Track & Field, (Field Events), Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Melbourne, 8:00 a.m.
Powerlifting, Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, 9:00 a.m.