Myrtle Acton broke Canadian records at The B.C. 55+ Games.

Myrtle Acton broke Canadian records at The B.C. 55+ Games.

Spirit of competition

A fierce desire to compete puts Sooke senior Myrtle Acton on sports pedestal.

Myrtle Acton thought it would be a bonding moment and an enjoyable thing to do when she asked her daughter and son-in-law to join her on a fun five-kilometre community walk five years ago in Summerland.

It didn’t quite work out that way–and Acton discovered something she didn’t know she had: a fierce desire to compete.

Acton, 82, has become a star on the senior games circuit, recently setting two new Canadian-age group records in hammer throwing events at the B.C. 55+ Games.

But that day five years ago was an eye-opener.

She started the walk with her family, but was passed by a woman who she had competed against in race-walk events. At that moment, Acton declared she couldn’t let that woman beat her and sped off.

Acton beat the woman to the finish line. Her daughter was upset as she crossed the line 10 minutes later.

“I don’t think my youngest daughter has ever forgiven me,” said Acton, a Sooke resident.

“It’s [competitiveness] just there. It’s just the way I am, I guess.”

Although Acton was a track and field athlete in her youth, once she left school she forgot about sports. It wasn’t until her mid-60’s she returned to sports when she competed in the 1994 B.C. Senior Games (now the B.C. 55+ Games).

Her first foray back to track and field saw her compete in the five-kilometre and 10K race-walks.

The next year she added javelin and discus to her repertoire, and it wasn’t long before shot put and hammer throw became her expertise.

“I didn’t know when I started I would be setting Canadian records,” said Acton. “I started out just wanting to get active.”

Acton calls the B.C. 55+Games a “marvelous organization” as it’s able to gel sports and camaraderie together.

She admits the athletes are all competitive, but there is certainly no trash talking or putting down others. At the end of the day, everyone comes together and encourages everyone on.

Acton not only competes at the B.C. 55+ Games, but other competitions internationally, including the World Masters Games in Sidney, Australia. Next month she plans to head to Nevada for a competition.

“[Seniors track and field] competition has become more of a tourist thing now. There are competitions all over the place.”

Acton says she’s a “bit of a sluggard” when it comes to competing. After all, she only competes in meets five or six times a year.

She calls her training hit and miss, since she can only train once a week with her track club. Sooke, she said, doesn’t have the facilities to bode well with her specific sports.

Acton attempts to make up for it with walking several times a week and some light training.

It’s not quite the way Acton’s coach Danny Daniels sees it.

Daniels, with the Peninsula Track and Field Club, said Acton is a competitor and works hard at her sport.

“While she has natural talent in her throwing events, she is always looking for ways to improve her techniques,” he said. And she has many excellent results, including Canadian records, to show for her attention to detail.”

“She is such a delightful person to know and work with. All coaches should be so lucky.”

klaird@blackpress.ca

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read