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

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read