While controlling his diabetes and dealing with prostate cancer at the age of 63, Mark Norville decided to compete in the National Senior Games seven years ago and has no plans of giving up anytime soon.

Unlike others who stop trying or exerting themselves when they get bad news regarding their health, Mr. Norville explained: ???These are events in your life; they are not the ending of your life. It happened to so many other people and you were just unfortunate.???

He explained that while in the supermarket one day, he ran into a fellow senior athlete, Kathy Harper-Hall, who encouraged him to participate in the games.

???She said ???Why don???t you start running again????, because I used to run when I was in school and I said well I???ll give it a try and so far so good, I???m enjoying it,??? he shared.

When Mr. Norville participated in the games the first time around, he decided to compete in the 50 metres, 100 metres and the long jump – the latter, he explained, was not such a good idea. ???I hadn???t done it since leaving school, which would have been a mighty long time ago and I messed up all the muscles in my two legs!??? he exclaimed.

Aside from this, he reported that his first experience was great, and it was nice to reconnect and compete with his friends and former school colleagues.??About two years after this experience, he decided to join the Barbados Masters and Seniors Athletic Club (BAMSAC) because he wanted to not only be fit, but also to reap success when participating in the games.

???They (BAMSAC) follow a fairly strict programme in training, you do stretches and strengthening of your body through various exercises and of course you do running to get the body in top shape,??? he said.

Even though the National Senior Games take place in April, he explained that the senior athletes still participate in games overseas in Florida or Utah, which requires them to be involved in a ???constant and continuous programme???.

???The games give you something to aim for; without the games you???re likely to say ???Oh, I???ll go next week???or tomorrow??? and so you destroy your whole regime of training, and you can easily relax in a rocking chair and see your health deteriorate,??? he remarked.

Although Barbados has been hosting senior games for over a decade, Mr. Norville believes that they are ???young??? compared to those abroad, where athletes as old as 95 or 96 are still competing.

The senior athlete said: ???We???re hoping the ones who are in their 50???s and 60???s will continue and don???t stop, so one day we will have people in the 90s competing.?????He also hopes that more senior athletes will have the opportunity to go abroad and compete, which he describes ???makes you feel young in spirit??? to see persons of this age competing.

Mr. Norville, who works out regularly at the gym, was diagnosed with diabetes 24 years ago. He not only needs to watch his diet, but his exercise regime as well. And, he credits the National Senior Games for assisting him in successfully maintaining his good health.

???They have definitely improved my health because it helps to control the blood sugar level???I always remember an ad that comes over on TV and it says a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion stays in motion, so I believe that if I can keep going that will assist me in maintaining good health.???

Speaking on the issue of diabetes, Mr. Norville said there was a need for programmes to tell ???the public what to look for because all the signs were there; I just didn???t recognize them???.

Since 1990, he has been on medication, as well as a special exercise and diet regime, which has allowed him to control his diabetes and avoid taking insulin. Additionally, as a survivor of prostate cancer, he is urging all men over the age of 40 to get their Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test.

He disclosed that he decided to get tested only after his brother advised him to do so, and to his ???horror and dismay??? it was prostate cancer.?????They did radiation treatment as well as the implant of seeds into the gland and that was like 9 years ago, so far so good,??? he remarked.

Nonetheless, throughout it all, a smiling Mark Norville boasts that his wife, children and grandchildren and his friends are his greatest supporters at the games and they encourage him to practise and keep fit. And he???s calling on other elderly persons to follow in his footsteps to get their bodies in motion, so that they too can improve their health.


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