For the third consecutive year, adjunct Professor Marty Feeney has trained and participated in the Senior Olympics. His reward? 48 medals.
For four days each June, Feeney competes against other athletes in up to 22 events varying from the 50-yard backstroke to an event testing the accuracy of his soccer ball kick at Valley High School in Des Moines.
“I realized that this was good for me,” Feeney said. “Every day as you grow older, things get taken away from you. What you want to do is hold on to the things that keep you young.”
Feeney said he’s been trying to motivate himself for years but finally took the initiative.
“I’m fitter today than I’ve been in a long time,” Feeney said. “I’ve found that it all goes downhill if you don’t keep it up.”
Senior Andi Werger said that while she was unaware that Marty was involved in the Senior Olympics, it doesn’t surprise her.
“Having been in a previous class with him, I know how much energy and ambition he has,” Werger said.
Anna Nalean, a senior who has had a couple of classes with Marty, had a similar reaction.
“His upbeat personality and passion would be perfect for something like this,” Nalean said.
His involvement in the Senior Olympics has allowed Feeney to lead a healthier lifestyle throughout the year.
“I’m trying to be the anti-McDonald’s person, the anti-Burger King person,” Feeney said.
Exhibiting that he’s not slowing down, Feeney completed a ten-mile race in Des Moines last weekend.
“You’ve got to get yourself worked up for these events,” Feeney said. “I have a chart on my wall leading up to the Senior Olympics, and I try to do something every day to get me ready for it whether that be swimming, running or working out.”
Regardless of Feeney’s efforts, he said he still feels like he has work to do.
“What I’ve noticed is that weight is the killer,” Feeney said. “I’m trying to get down to my high school weight, which is about 20 pounds from where I am now.”
Feeney said that while the exercise is great, the company is another benefit of his involvement.
“The best part about the competition is that everyone’s rooting for you at these events,” Feeney said. “I’ve seen 85-year-olds competing at these events. You always meet a lot of interesting characters.”
Another perk is seeing his achievements on the scoreboard.
“(Valley High School) has the Olympic scoreboard, which shows your name, time and place,” Feeney said. “It makes you feel like you’re a real Olympian.”
At the end of the day, Feeney encourages all students and faculty to become more active.
“I think being more fit and setting goals in terms of your physical life does carry over to the rest of your life,” Feeney said.
Several Simpson students recently started a triathlon club on campus in hopes of bringing active students together to exercise. Junior Ethan Elkin, one of the group’s leaders, sends out campus-wide e-mails encouraging students to participate and stay fit.
Last June, Feeney qualified for the National Senior Olympics in eight of his events. He said he couldn’t make it to the competition this time, but he hopes to go next year.
“In terms of my own limitations, I’m trying to get to the top of what I can do,” Feeney said. “And so far, it’s been fun.”