Athletes who excel past their 35th birthday are in the spotlight this week as Sport P.E.I. continues its countdown to the annual awards banquet, to be held on April 10 at the Rodd Royalty in Charlottetown.
Tilman Gallant (powerlifting), Mike MacKinnon (distance running) and Paul Wright (cross-country skiing) are all in the running for this prestigious award, which recognizes those who prove that age is no barrier when it comes to high performance competition.
Tickets for the banquet are available by contacting Sport P.E.I. at 368-4547.
Tilman Gallant achieved his life-long dream in 2012, when at the third time of asking, he stepped on to the podium at the World Masters Bench Press Championships held in Aurora, Col.
Twice previously the Summerside strongman, 64 years young, had finished 4th at the Worlds, but this time he was not to be denied as he benched 402 lbs on his third attempt in the Masters III 93kg division (for lifters aged 60-70), setting a new Commonwealth record in the process and beating his personal best of 385 lbs.
It was a magnificent achievement for Gallant, who has long been recognized as one of the strongest lifters in Canada, having previously won seven national gold medals, along with one silver and two bronze, in addition to setting more than 20 Canadian records.
With plans to carry on competing, and with goals to lift even more weight, retirement is not on the cards any time soon for Tilman Gallant.
Without doubt one of Atlantic Canada’s finest distance runners, Miscouche’s Mike MacKinnon is as tough as they come, and he enjoyed a fantastic year in 2012, winning both the Nova Scotia and P.E.I. marathons.
His win at the Bluenose was especially sweet for he looked on his way to victory in 2011 before wrong directions through him off course, but this time he was not to be denied as he put in an outstanding time of 2:49.19 to take the title by more than seven minutes, becoming the first non-Nova Scotian to win in the nine-year history of the event.
A winner in many of the Island’s 5 and 10km events, MacKinnon’s performance in the BMO P.E.I. Marathon was even more impressive, taking his third title since the revamped race came into being, recording an excellent time of 2:37.55 to win by eight minutes, and qualifying for a place in Boston where he plans to compete this spring.
An outstanding competitor, the 39-year-old MacKinnon is also turning his attention to the triathlon, where he hopes to be equally successful.
Father Time does not seem to be able to catch up to Bedeque’s Paul Wright, and the outstanding cross country skier and endurance athlete seems to get better with age.
Competing in the 50 to 55 division at the Masters National Championships in Dawn Ridge, B.C., Wright took home the gold medal in both the 10km and 30km events, recording some of his best results in an outstanding career.
He recorded top-five finishes in his category at both the 51km Classic at Gatineau and the 30km Classic at Mouski, Que., while in the summer he competed in regional duathlons, again with great success with consistent top-five finishes.
An inspiration to those who see age as no barrier to competing at the top level, Wright continues to roll back the years with his amazing performances.