Donna Larson ’53 and John Wendling ‘57 competed in the National Senior Games in June—Larson in the race-walk and Wendling in swimming. Race-walking is a unique event in track and field, with strict rules of leg motion and eight judges who inspect racers’ technique during the race. Beginning with local competitions, Larson worked her way up to the National Senior Games Association, where she competed in the 5,000-meter and 1,500-meter race-walks. The Games, held in Birmingham Ala., host a variety of different sports, both Olympic events and others such as shuffleboard and horseshoes. Competitors are divided by age division; Larson competed in the 85-89 division. She was one of two entrants in her races and won gold medals in both, even enduring the elements; her 5-kilometer race saw a downpour of rain throughout. In her pocket she keeps a list of names for whom she dedicates her competitions. Those listed include residents of a nursing home she visits, and North Central friends Truman Stehr ‘53 and Marilyn Kubly ‘54 Workman. Larson plans to continue her racing career in future Senior Games, held every other year. She lives in Elmhurst, Ill., with her husband Walt ’54.
Wendling competed in the 50-yard breaststroke, the 50-yard and 100-yard backstroke, the 100-yard freestyle, and the 50-yard freestyle, winning four silver medals and a gold medal, respectively. Wendling began swimming competitively at North Central, where he swam under head coach Hal Henning. He took up competition again at age 77, participating in district and state competitions for swimming and track. He and his wife Ruth ’58 live in Sewanee, Tenn.