by Roger Zotti
This just in: Ron Dombrowski, 66, is still running strong, and in August he’ll travel to Stanford University, San Francisco Bay, California, to compete in his fourth Senior Olympics. In Ron’s age group (65-69), he has already qualified for the 1500, 400, and 200 meter dashes, and the 5K road race. “The last Senior Olympics I did was in Hampton Beach, Virginia, in 2003,” said the Uncasville resident. “Eight medals were given out. I’m hoping for a medal this time. You see, I’ll be running against the same people I ran against before. We all just got older.” Ron noted his friend, Jerry Lavasseur, “Got me involved in the Senior Olympics and he’ll be competing this year, too.”
As for Ron’s weekly mileage, he’s up to eighteen but, he pointed out, “I hope to build to twenty-five. I’ll stay at that level.” Because of his training schedule, Ron, a veteran runner and longtime member of the Mohegan Striders, probably won’t be competing in as many road races this summer as he usually does. At the same time, he said, “If I feel like getting into a race, maybe I will.” As for Ron’s diet: he’s more careful at 66 than he used to be. In past years, especially during the winter, he’d put on a few pounds. “Not this year, though,” he said. That bag of potato chips he used to devour in one day is a thing of the past. And as for injuries, so far Ron hasn’t had any, though he admitted he’s extremely careful because of this year’s harsh weather.
Yes, Ron is critical of the way CT treats its senior Olympians. Competitors from the state are running in its uniform, he said, “which is a black t-shirt with silver letters. That’s not a uniform. We look like paupers when we’re out there.” Ron singled out New Mexico because it provides its runners “with a new running suit, $1,000, and new running shoes – at least that’s the way it was in the past. CT wants us to compete, but it really doesn’t want to spend the money.” Ron has been in contact with State Senator Edith Prague and State Representative Kevin Ryan. “I don’t think anything will be done because of the economy, which I understand.”
Competing in the Senior Olympics has always been an education for Ron. “You have a great time and meet and talk with and learn from many people from all over the world,” he said. The event is a challenge, too: It enables Ron to gauge where he stands in relation to runners, in his age group, from other parts of the country and the world. And how long does Ron intend to compete in the Senior Olympics? “For as long as the good Lord lets me,” he said, smiling.