50s Lifestyle

Top club where age doesn’t weary them

☐ Gavin Beahan, Col Whitbread, Sue Chenery, Tony Re, and Dianne and Roger Hillsdon at The Crest Athletics Track, Bass Hill.

THERE’S a clear message coming out of Bankstown Sports Athletics Club – you’re never too old for sport.

In a sport dominated by youth, of the 360 members of the Bass Hill based club, over 140 on its books are aged over 55, while just 90 are juniors. The club’s oldest member turns 80 this month.
“We would have the largest seniors’ component of an athletics club in Australia,” long-time president Col Whitbread said.
“Of those 140 members over 55, I would estimate 50 of them take an active part in competition.”
Mr Whitbread, the club’s president for over a decade, says he can’t put his finger on the exact reason why there’s such a strong senior presence at the club.
“Maybe it’s the comaraderie; maybe its the competitive nature of people in the area,” he said.
Life member Tony Re agrees. At 79, his love for athletics hasn’t diminished over the three decades he’s pulled on the runners at The Crest – the club’s home base.
“There’s a number of reasons I continue to compete,” he said.
“Mainly though, it’s for general health, and the social side of it. But a big part of it for me is still the competitiveness.”
Mr Re says he loves putting himself up against those of a similar age, in an effort to better his performances.
Sue Cahnery is marking 30 years with the club this year and says while age slows her physically, it hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm for athletics. A former state athletic’s champion, she continues to be competitive.
“I love competing in masters’ meets,” she said.
“It’s all about giving yourself a goal, a challenge, while enjoying yourself.”
Husband and wife team, Roger and Dianne Hillsdon, have a combined membership of over 65 years at the Bankstown club, and show no signs of slowing down.
“This is a great club,” said Mr Hillsdon, who has completed 40 City to Surf fun runs.
“Besides keeping fit, we’re like one big family here,” Mrs Hillsdon said.
The club meets Tuesdays evenings at The Crest, Bass Hill.
For further information, call Mr Whitbread on 0438 619 662.