Metro-Area Resident’s Personal Race-Walking Success Leads to Gold Medals at National Senior Games

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Winning is not always about overcoming an opponent. Sometimes the thrill of victory is measured through achieving personal goals. Even while besting those who may challenge you, an individual can still lose if the objectives are not met. In contrast, if the challenge you bring to yourself is met with determination and execution, then sometimes the successful results of a competitor’s efforts against you does not make you a loser. In other words, the toughest opponent will always be found within. If these guidelines serve as a standard for competing, then Donna Gonzales has proven to be a winner.

Althoughan impressive accomplishment overall, Gonzales is not just soaking in the thought that she brought home two gold medals at the National Senior Games in St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota. The biggest reason to celebrate is that the Terry resident was able to beat her previous best times in the 1500 and 5000 meter race-walking category. The joy of crossing the finish line at yet her fastest pace was obviously very encouraging.

“I was so proud of what took place in Minnesota,” said the 72-year old grandmother of five. “Walking gives me full of life and I am still at an aw.” Gonzales also said that her success at the Nationals could also be contributed to a beautiful flat course and cooperative weather. “Although it was hot, there was a lot less humidity than it is down here,” she said.

While walking her way to a first place finish, Gonzales managed to beat her previous best time of 10:02 in the 1500 race-walk by recording a personal best 9:59. The same goes for the 5000 meters when she turns at 36 minute walk into a 35:18. Each of these events took place on July 14-15.

Leading up to her accomplishment at the Nationals, Gonzales dedication to race-walking had already led her many other honors, which includes national recognition from Humana.

On August 1, while competing in annual “Run for the Son” walk at the First Baptist Church in downtown Jackson, representatives from Humana made the trip to recognize Gonzales’ achievements and to award her with a Game Changer medal; an honor that was given to only 13 individuals nationwide. The award of course was not only to point out her success in race-walking but a commitment to excellence and fitness, which has become a high priority since she began what was a just hobby 17 years ago.

Despite the attention that has come Gonzales’way, the sky still appears to be the limit as it relates to not only race-walking, but physical fitness as a whole.

“If you can’t run or walk, there are so many things that National Senior Games offer from badminton to tennis but the main thing is to have fun and enjoy the second half of your life,” she said.

The National Senior Games will provide a qualifier on the Coast with an opportunity to compete at the Nationals in Birmingham in 2017.

According to Gonzales this will give locals who are unable to travel to the northern part of the nation a viable destination to compete.

By Sedrick Durr
Jackson Advocate Contributing Writer