BAY RIDGE– It was a beautiful morning for a healthy run as a group of dedicated seniors gathered on Monday, May 6 for the fourth annual senior games at the Fort Hamilton Recreation Center, 9941 Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge.
The kick-off event featured a nine-mile race with a celebratory torch lighting.
This year’s competition included shuffleboard, bowling, swimming, basketball, track and field, board games, table tennis, cornhole and pickleball.
“This is a great event that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of for the last four years,” said torch bearer Leroy Cummins. “It’s nice to see seniors actively engaged in running, swimming and doing different exercises as we retire. It’s also a way to stay healthy and physically fit after you’ve retired so that you can enjoy life to the fullest. The New York City Parks Department has been supporting us in these activities and we truly appreciate it.”
Community leaders, family and friends gathered outside the senior center at 8:30 a.m. as senior center member John Houlihan opened the ceremony with a stunning rendition of the national anthem, which was followed by singer Gianvito performing the standards “You’ll Never Know” and “Volare.” There was also a performance by tap dancers directly preceding the start of the race.
The runners ran through Prospect Park to Grand Army Plaza, and then on to Eastern Parkway before finishing at 10:45 a.m. outside the Brownsville Recreation Center at Hegeman Avenue. The race was followed by the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. with guest speakers.
The senior run featured a cross-section of people. “What’s wonderful about it is you don’t have to be the fastest or the best, the youngest or the oldest; it’s just about everyone getting along and having fun,” said recreation center member June Johnson.
Senior Games is presented with support from New York Road Runners, Humana, Bright Health, Cabot Cheese, NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, the Public Theatre and the NYC Dept. for the Aging.
Awards were presented to the first, second and third place winners of each competition, and were issued at the end of each event. There were giveaways and t-shirts for participants and light refreshments were provided to all participants at each activity.
“There’s a lot of excitement building up for this event,” said recreation center Manager Peter Lovett. “The athletes are getting better and better at the sports that they are focusing on. They’re having fun, they’re getting stronger and there’s a lot of good cheer at the center.”