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April 15, 2010

Senior reaching new heights By Terry Jacoby Heritage Newspapers


oward Booth, a Chelsea resident and a regular at the Chelsea Wellness Center, is an avid masters track and field athlete. Avid – and exceptional. Booth returned from Kamloops, British Columbia last month where he competed in the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championship. The 66year-old athlete returned with a gold medal in the pole vault and a fifth-place finish in the long jump in the male 65-69 age group. “With a bar-rattling vault of 3.05 meters (10 feet), I edged out a former top Olympian (1972), Hans Langerqvist from Sweden to earn the gold medal,” said a proud Booth. Robert Garnier from France was third. “This was a fantastic ending to a very traumatic start of the week,” Booth said. “My wife and I flew into Seattle to discover all three of my vaulting poles were broken in transit. In Kamloops, the only option was to rent an unfamiliar pole that didn’t match either length or weight. With a day’s practice this worked well enough that in competition, to quote my wife, ‘the jumps were not pretty but gritty.’ Still the bar stayed up at the key times.” The previous day, Booth’s jump of 14-feet, 4-inches moved him from seventh in the preliminary rounds up to fifth in the finals against a dozen competitors from Russia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden and the USA. Nearly 2,000 athletes representing 60 countries converged on this scenic oasis community of 70,000, tucked between two mountain ranges about 200 miles west of Vancouver. The athletes competed in the entire range of track and field events at Thompson River University during the first week of March. Booth grew up in Mio where, according to him, he picked pole vaulting and long jumping because, “I wasn’t quite fast enough to be a top three sprinter and only a couple of us wanted to work hard enough to learn the

use the spring of the fiberglass. In fact, I’m still working on the fine points of that.” Booth set a new age group state record in his first meet and was hooked. He has since set new age group state records in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and last summer won the National Senior Olympics gold medal at Stanford University. He also added a silver medal for the Team Michigan 4x100 meter relay and a bronze for the long jump. Last year, he won silver medals in both pole vault and long jump in the National USATF Indoor Masters Championships in Washington, D.C. At the outdoor National USATF Masters Championships, he took the silver in pole vault and was fifth in the 100-meter sprint and a top 10 national ranking in the 200-meter race. Practicing the pole vault isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s not like training for a marathon where you just go out and run. You need certain items, including a pole and a vault. “I inherited a set of old and discarded pole vault pads from EMU three years ago,” he said. “With the help of several EMU vaulters, we built a runway in the valley behind our house so we masters as well as a number of younger vaulters could workout during the summer. Booth has been a professor workouts in the gym for upper in the Biology Department at body conditioning. EMU for 43 years, teaching and “About six years ago I was doing research in the areas encouraged by one of my gymof human physiology, animal nastics teammates to look into physiology, zoology and quality competing in the Michigan science teaching. Booth and his Senior Olympics,” he said. “I wife, Lu, enjoy hiking, running, signed up for the 5K run, bench press, and was looking for a third snow shoeing and cross country sking the trails of the Pinckney event (three for the same price) Recreation Area. and checked out the pole vault heights for 60 year olds. I thought I could possibly do that.” To see if he “could do that,” Booth didn’t exactly work out at an Olympic training facility. “I tried it out in my backyard with a freshly cut maple sapling and had some success so I bought a fiberglass pole and started working at it,” he said. “I had used only stiff aluminum or steel poles before so it took a while to learn how to bend and

Chelsea’s Booth wins gold at the World Masters pole vault.” It turned out to be a great decision. Booth finished with school and league records and placed fourth in the state meet. He went to Eastern Michigan University where he was recruited for the gymnastics team. “As team captain and a regular in still rings, parallel bars, floor exercise and vaulting, I had a primary commitment to that sport. So with the seasons overlapping, I only pole vaulted for EMU two outdoor seasons,” Booth said. “My highlight was earning a third-place finish in the PAC Conference my junior year with a 12-6 vault.” During graduate school (MS at EMU and Ph.D at MSU), Booth got interested in distance running and local 5K and 10K races. He also stayed fit with regular

REGIONAL SCHEDULE Today BASEBALL East Jackson at Dexter, 4 p.m. TRACK Clinton at Manchester, 5 p.m. Milan at Flat Rock, 4 p.m. Redford Thurston at Belleville, 3:30 p.m. BOYS GOLF Manchester at Stockbridge GIRLS TENNIS Grosse Ile at Chelsea, 4 p.m. GIRLS SOCCER Adrian at Chelsea, 5:30 p.m. GIRLS TENNIS Belleville at Dexter, TBA GIRLS WATER POLO Saline at Chelsea, 6 p.m. Tomorrow BASEBALL Redford Thurston at Belleville (DH), 4 p.m. SOFTBALL Redford Thurston at Belleville (DH), 4 p.m. Flat Rock at Milan (DH), 4 TRACK Belleville at Dearborn Edsel Ford Relays, 3:30 p.m. BOYS GOLF Chelsea at Pinckney Invitational, 9 a.m. GIRLS SOCCER Westland John Glenn at Belleville, 4 p.m. Milan at Flat Rock, 4:30 p.m. GIRLS TENNIS Dearborn at Belleville, 4 p.m. BOYS LACROSSE Chelsea at Bedford, 7 p.m. Dexter at AA Huron, 7 p.m. Ypsilanti at Saline, 7 p.m. GIRLS LACROSSE Saline at Canton, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS WATER POLO Saline at Gator Invitational, TBA Saturday BASEBALL Belleville at Monroe (DH), 10 a.m. Chelsea at Coldwater Invitational, 9 a.m. Dexter at Clinton Tournament, TBA Manchester at Brooklyn Columbia Central (DH), 10 a.m. Milan at Avery Invitational, 9 a.m. SOFTBALL Belleville at Monroe

Invitational, 10 a.m. Chelsea at DeWitt Invitational, TBA Dexter at South Lyon Invitational, TBA Manchester at Quincy (DH), 10 a.m. Milan at Detroit Country Day (DH), 11 a.m. Saline at Clinton Invitational 9 a.m. TRACK Chelsea at Hastings Invitational, 9 a.m. Manchester at East Jackson Dome Classic, 9:30 p.m. Saline at Ypsilanti April Showers, TBA GIRLS SOCCER Chelsea at Dexter, 11:30 a.m. Saline at Plymouth, 12:30 GIRLS TENNIS Chelsea at Adrian Invitational, TBA Saline Hornet Invitational, 9 a.m. GIRLS LACROSSE Bedford at Saline, 11 a.m. GIRLS WATER POLO Saline at Gator Invitational, TBA Monday BASEBALL Belleville at Dearborn (DH), 4 p.m. Chelsea at Ann Arbor Huron (DH), 4 p.m. Dexter at Monroe (DH), 4 Onsted at Manchester, 4:30 Tecumseh at Saline (DH), 4 SOFTBALL Belleville at Dearborn (DH), 4 p.m. Chelsea at Ann Arbor Huron (DH), 4 p.m. Dexter at Monroe (DH), 4 p.m. Onsted at Manchester, 4:30 Milan at Summerfield (DH), 4:30 p.m. Tecumseh at Saline (DH), 4 BOYS GOLF Ann Arbor Huron, Ann Arbor Skyline, Dexter at SEC Quad at Chelsea, 3 p.m. Belleville at Garden City, 3 Saline at Brighton Invitational, 9 a.m. GIRLS SOCCER Belleville at Garden City, 7 Milan at Riverview, 4:30 p.m. GIRLS TENNIS Saline at Adrian, 4:30 p.m.

Belleville at Romulus, 4 p.m. Chelsea at Monroe, 4:30 p.m. Dexter at Pioneer, 4:30 p.m. BOYS LACROSSE Dexter at Madison Heights Bishop Foley, 5:30 p.m. GIRLS LACROSSE Brighton at Saline, 7 p.m. Tuesday TRACK Addison, Michigan Center at Manchester, 5 p.m. Adrian at Chelsea, 4:30 p.m. Dearborn at Belleville, 3:30 Ypsilanti at Dexter, 4:30 p.m. Grosse Ile at Milan, 4 p.m. Ann Arbor Skyline at Saline, 4:30 p.m. GIRLS SOCCER Chelsea at East Lansing, 6:30 Dexter at Mason, 6:30 p.m. Okemos at Saline, 7 p.m. GIRLS TENNIS Grosse Ile at Milan, 4 p.m. GIRLS WATER POLO Chelsea at Ann Arbor Pioneer, 6 p.m. Ann Arbor Huron at Saline, 7 p.m. Wednesday BASEBALL Dearborn Edsel Ford at Belleville (DH), 4 p.m. Manchester at Napoleon (DH), 4 p.m. Grosse Ile at Milan (DH), 3:30 SOFTBALL Dearborn Edsel Ford at Belleville (DH), 4 p.m. Manchester at Napoleon (DH), 4 p.m. Milan at Grosse Ile (DH), 3:30 Blissfield at Saline, 4 p.m. BOYS GOLF Chelsea at Tecumseh, 3 p.m. Dexter at Ypsilanti Lincoln, 3 Dearborn at Belleville, 3 p.m. Hanover-Horton at Manchester, TBA Saline at Bedford, 3 p.m. GIRLS SOCCER Dearborn at Belleville, 4 p.m. Monroe SMCC at Milan, 4:30 GIRLS TENNIS Adrian at Dexter, 4:30 p.m. Chelsea at Ypsilanti, 4:30 p.m. Edsel Ford at Belleville, 4 Milan at Lincoln, 4 p.m. Saline at Pioneer, 4:30 p.m. BOYS LACROSSE Skyline at Chelsea, 7 p.m. Bedford at Dexter, 6 p.m.

Crystal Hayduk is writing a series of columns as she prepares to participate in the Heart and Sole 5K, May 15.

These shoes are made for running By Crystal Hayduk Special writer

Before beginning what can be considered real training for this 5K, I started walking. Given my schedule and previous lack of exercise, my first reasonably attainable goal was to walk three times a week. According to those who give advice about goal setting, I should have been specific regarding time or distance, but I wasn’t mentally at that point yet. I am happy to report that for the month of March, I did walk three times a week. Some days I only squeezed in 20 minutes, but some days I managed up to an hour. After the first few longer walking sessions, I noticed some lingering discomfort on the side of my left foot, and mentioned it to my family at dinner. “I know what you need, mommy,” said my energetic 9-year-old, Katie Rae. “You need new shoes. Then you’ll be able to run really fast – like me!” I had my doubts that new shoes would make this non-runner run fast. And I would need a jet pack to keep up with Katie Rae. But it had been over five years since my last new pair of athletic shoes, so why not give it a try? Running Fit employee Chelsea Earls measured my feet and checked my arches, looked at my old shoes for signs of uneven

wear, and watched me walk and run. She suggested New Balance shoes in a size larger than I usually wear. They were lightweight and felt good. (Megan, 5, liked that they were trimmed in pink.) Since getting my running shoes, I haven’t experienced any foot discomfort. They feel so good that I can go farther without experiencing heaviness in my feet or fatigue in my legs.

Special offer As an official sponsor of the Heart and Sole race, Running Fit is offering 10 percent off the price of running shoes. To get the discount, just tell them that you’re part of the Heart and Sole gang. Randy Step, co-owner of Running Fit stores in Michigan, explained that store employees are trained to help people find the best fit and type of shoe for their feet. Running shoes are flexible from front to back to provide easier forward movement of the foot, and come in one of three basic types: neutral, stability, or motioncontrol. “Notoriously, people like to buy their shoes too small,” Step said. “You have to ignore the number that you think you usually wear. They size running shoes smaller than dress shoes.” Running Fit locations can be found at


These shoes are made for running Today BASEBALL East Jackson at Dexter, 4 p.m. TRACK Clinton at Manchester, 5 p.m. Milan at Flat Rock, 4 p.m...