Seasoned athletes still hungry to compete in USA Masters Games

The games take place through Sunday in Grand Rapids
Masters Games
Posted at 7:33 PM, Jun 25, 2021
Seasoned athletes still hungry to compete in Masters Games

Burt Saidel has been running competitively for a long time.

"Well, I think I started at age 13 or 14," the 90-year Dayton, Ohio resident said.

Saidel is running in the 50 meter dash and 100 meter dash in the USA Masters Games taking place this weekend around West Michigan.

He says it was very clear to him that sprinting was where he belonged.

"Because I couldn't run distance," Saidel said with a smile. "I got tired, very tired."

He says the reason that he has kept running all these years is simple.

"Because I kept winning and I love it," Saidel said. "And I still love it."

Had the USA Masters games taken place last summer as they had originally been scheduled, Burt would have been in the 85-89 bracket, this weekend he will compete in the 90-94 group.

Burt Saidel
Burt Saidel sprints

He has competed in a number of Masters events near his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.

"I love going there and they say Saidel's here, there goes the gold," he laughed. "I try to be humble, but I'm not."

Elsbeth Padia is originally from Switzerland but has lived in California for the last 59 years.

"I want to enjoy it," she said. "This is not work for me, it is enjoyment and I just try to do it as long as I can."

Padia didn't started competing in the Masters Games until she was 65, but does hold American records for her age in the hammer throw, javelin and shot put.

Elsbeth Padia
Elsbeth Padia throws the Javelin

Her goal is to get the discus record this weekend.

"I hope I can do it, it depends on the weather too because when the rain makes it slippery you are a little intimidated," Padia said. "You are kind of scared. you don't want to fall at this age, I don't want to break a hip."

Both Padia and Saidel have goals for the future.

Burt wants to compete in New York where he ran when he was in college in the late 40's and near where his grandson, Oliver, lives.

"Next year the USATF (USA Track & Field) championship will be again in New York at the armory," Saidel said. "Even though I will be 91 and Oliver is there and I am going to keep in shape and do that."

"You are never too old to start it, Padia said. "I started soccer at 45, I played until I was 76 and now I am doing this and it is fun."

Elsbeth figures she has another 20 years to compete.