COLUMBIA — After hurting her back 26 years ago, Martie Delon never saw herself racing competitively. But after her physical therapist told her about racewalking, Delon never looked back. Now, Martie Delon, 81, and her husband Floyd Delon, 80, are members of Heartland Racewalkers in Kansas City and participate in competitions frequently.
The Delons competed in the Show-Me State Games race walking competition Sunday morning at at Bethel Park. Racewalking has provided the couple with an outlet for exercise, and they even met through the sport.
In matching red mesh hats, the Floyds talked about first meeting at the club 10 years ago. The couple recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary and plan on competing in the National State Games in San Diego next year together.
"It's fun, and the older you get, the less competition there is," Martie Delon said.
While Sunday's event was smaller than other events she has competed in, Martie Delon will take any chance she can get to compete with her husband.
"Racewalking has kept us close and kept us healthy," Floyd Delon said. "We wouldn't be in great shape today if we didn't racewalk as much as we do."
Twenty-two years ago, Fred Adams, another member of the Heartland Racewalkers, had a heart attack. After starting a strict diet and a thorough racewalking regimen, he lost 50 pounds in just three months.
"Racewalking saved my life," Adams said. He is 77-years-old and placed first in his division at the competition Sunday. Adams participates in many tournaments, including six in the past month alone.
"I have a wall in my basement with all of my metals," he said.
Adams said he has been racing in about 15 competitions a year for the past 20 years.