When Les Carlson travels to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. next May, don’t look for him sitting on the beach. Instead, look for him at the track. Carlson will compete in the National Senior Games in the 50-meter dash and the javelin.
The 88-year-old Carlson qualified for the national games this past summer at Kearney, Neb., winning the javelin and qualifying on time in the 50-meter event.
Carlson, who turns 89 in December, will compete in the 90-year-old division because he will turn 90 in 2022.
The games, originally scheduled for 2021, were moved back a year due to COVID-19.
It’s not Carlson’s first time qualifying for the national games, having qualified in 2019 when the games were in Albuquerque, N.M.
“I like competition and this gives me something to do to stay in shape,” he explained.
He began competing in senior games in 2013 when he took part in the Iowa Games in Des Moines. Over the years, besides competing in the 50-meter dash and the javelin, he’s run the 100, 200 and 400.
He trains three days a week, splitting his time at the Manchester Rec Center and outdoors. In the winter, all of his training is in the rec center.
“There is no throwing in the winter. I have a great big band I use to train with then,” he explained.
Carlson threw the javelin in college, then started again in 1976. “The Olympics were in Montreal and we took the family there. We were in the stands and the javelin was one of the events. I told my wife I used to do that in college. So when we got home I ordered one and played around with it a bit, then forgot about it and put it in storage.”
Carlson said after the winter, he will evaluate whether he runs the 50 meters in Fort Lauderdale. “When I get back training outside, I will see how I feel running. If I don’t feel qualified or able to do that, I will throw all my energy into the javelin. I want to win the javelin. My goal is to come home from the games a winner.”