For most athletes, the peak years are between ages 20 and 40, and after that, many pack it in.
For Brenda Dolderman, who lives just east of here and was recently named to the McMaster University Hall of Fame, it seems her focus is increasing as she goes.
Dolderman was a top runner in track and cross country at Milton high school, and received a scholarship to Stanford University in California. It was not a memorable year, and after several injuries, she returned to Canada to enroll in McMaster. She had to sit out a full year, as per the university rules.
The following two years were like she had never been away. She became an All-Canadian in cross country running, and was a a member of the university team that won the co-championship in track and field in 1987-88, and was named an all star in track and field in 1988-89.
Just to make sure she stayed busy at school, she was the running coach of the Triathlon Club.
Her husband, Mike, an OPP officer, noted that she was the overall athlete of the year in Milton, plus a regular running champ prior to university.
Today, she stays busy, home schooling her children, all of whom are runners like their mother, and all of whom show speed and stamina.
Brenda Dolderman said she was inspired by her high school coach, who questioned her work ethic. That made her strive even harder.
But Mike Dolderman said he had to convince his wife to telephone the university to accept the induction into the Hall of Fame. He pointed out that when she won a major race in the Canadian championship, she was not even taking part in her specialty race. Her specialty is the 3,000 metres, but that was being run on a Sunday, and Brenda Dolderman keeps the Sabbath. She entered and won the 10,000 metre race instead.
“I actually enjoyed the 10K,” she said.
Mike Dolderman said her high school coach initially had to convince Brenda’s parents to let her run. She then won a large number of Ontario high school races and titles, some on the track, some indoors, and some cross country.
The Doldermans have five children about two years apart, ranging in age from 6 to 14. They regularly finish first in their age divisions in races, too. She and Mike started Breakaway in Fergus about eight years ago to give youths a chance to participate in Sports.
Their oldest daughter, Brianna, recently competed in the Race for Haiti in Fergus. Brenda finished first, and Brianna topped her age division, not too far behind mom.
Brenda Dolderman said there are about 70 home schooled children in Centre Wellington. She started a running club for them, where they will attempt, over the school year, to run 100 miles. She has also started a running club for the Fergus area, which will be active twice a week.Anyone from any level can join. It will run in Victoria Park. For details, phone 519-993-5606.
Having been a teacher, Brenda Dolderman finds it a natural to continue as a running coach, too, but she expects to do much more in the sport. She said she can probably run into her 60s and even 70s.
“I look around [at races] and I see people that old,” she said.
She runs now with the thought that she will be competing in marathons, which are just over 26 miles.
At her induction, Dolderman spoke not only about athletics, but her faith. “I felt I needed to say God gives us unique talents but he really wants us to use them,” she said.
In her speech, she also mentioned the Race for Haiti, and added that she was pleased that the gift certificate that winners normally receive was, this time, “a give certificate.”
There will be eight school uniforms presented to Haitian students in her name.