Track update for the young and not so young
by Randy Pascal
At age 61, long-time Sudbury native Doug Hayes is playing catch-up when it comes to his track and field career – but he’s making up ground fast.
After dabbling in the sprints and jumps only marginally in his youth, typically through the playground program at Adamsdale, Hayes would feel
compelled to give it another shot, roughly five decades later.
As retirement neared and his awareness of his physical well-being climbed up the priority chart, Hayes would workout, with regularity, at both the
Cambrian Fitness Centre on Lorne Street, and then over to the YMCA, hopping on the treadmill and tackling some weights.
“I found it kind of boring, so I kind of decided that it would be fun to get back into sprinting,” said Hayes. Through the advice of his former school
counselor at Lasalle (Len Thompson), he would be directed to Track North coach Dick Moss.
“I was just going to do it on my own, see how fast I can run the 100 metres,” Hayes continued. “I wasn’t thinking of competing or anything. I didn’t
even know there was a masters program for track.” Though the mind was willing, the body had logged a few miles over the years.
“You’re obviously prone to injuries when it comes to something like sprinting,” said Hayes. “I get that – well, I thought I got it, but I didn’t get it.”
In a matter of just two months, Hayes incurred issues with his achilles, followed by a torn calf and abdominal strain. “I was in physio every day it seemed.
I started to think this was stupid, but I was actually really enjoying it. There was a rush there. I decided to get healthy, but also to get smarter.”
Though Hayes would meet with Moss and his group of L.U. track athletes for training sessions, working out at a reasonable pace was something of a
painful lesson to learn. “Their progress is not my progress, I had to keep telling myself,” said Hayes. “My progress is little wee baby steps. Just getting
my hips unglued was a major breakthrough.”
In the summer of 2016, he would put his training to the test, attending a mini meet in Toronto. Driving a few hours from the family cottage, Hayes would
compete in the 100m, 200m and long jump with what he believed to be a strained calf, only to realize it was a partially torn muscle following the meet.
“It was a total disaster,” he said with a laugh. “I was last in all three. But I got about halfway home on the drive and got to thinking that it was
actually a lot of fun. I met a lot of like-minded people. They know they’re not going to the Olympics, but they want to be healthy, they want to compete,
they want to see how well they can do.”
“I found out that I am really competing with myself. By the time I got back to the camp, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I decided I was going to
take this seriously, but have some fun with it.”
Through Moss and the Laurentian track team, Hayes would encounter Tom Black, a former member of the Scottish Track and Field team from
many years gone by. “I’ve had more coaching in the past year than I had through all my school years,” said Hayes. “It’s amazing what I am learning.”
This past March, the final product was evidence of the effort that he had made, as Hayes finished first in the M60 (age) 50 meter dash in a time of 7.99
seconds, and placed second in the long jump at 3.68 metres at the Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships.
“When I was doing track as a kid, I would just go out and do it,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to learn technically, and I have a lot to do physically. I’ve
got to stay healthy, which at my age, in this sport, is a challenge. I’ve got to get stronger, which is a challenge.”
These are challenges that Doug Hayes is not about to put off, not at this point in his life.
Still with the local track and field scene, the first three of the seven meet series that make up the RE Gibson Memorial Elementary Track and Field
Meets are now in the books, with athletes from various schools showing signs of the talent that are high schools will soon inherit.
Logan Spicer (Lively District – 100m, 150m, high jump) and Cassandra McDonald (R.L. Beattie – 80m, 100m, shot put) have managed the only
“triple crowns”, to date, with each athlete finishing first in three separate events.
That said, there has been an impressive grouping of youngsters who are merely a half-step back, finishing with two first place ribbons and one for
Cale Bast – Atom Boys – Northeastern – 150m, long jump, triple jump
Tyler Dunn – Grade 7 – Lansdowne – 100m, 150m, long jump
Dax Mazzuchin – Grade 7 - MacLeod - long jump, high jump, triple jump
Brianna Fazekas – Grade 8 – Princess Anne – 150m, 400m, high jump
Calum Passi – Grade 8 – Churchill – 800m, 1500m, 400m
Lauren Fearn – Grade 8 - Algonquin – 100m, shot put, high jump
Oliver Taillefer – Grade 8 – Lo-Ellen Park – 800m, triple jump, 1500m
The series will continue with a few more meets, highlighting by the Champions Meet on (Wednesday) June 21st and the Challenge Meet on
(Monday) June 19th.