Regina’s 80-year-old Carol LaFayette-Boyd has been named the 2022 World Masters Athlete of the Year. LaFayette-Boyd won the same honour in 2018.
“It’s almost like I know other people that I thought deserved it, and I think ‘now why don’t they get it?,’” LaFayette-Boyd said on the news of receiving the honour for the second time.
Masters Athletics is a class of sport athletics for those aged 35 or older. Athletes can compete in track and field, road running and cross country. The competitors are put into five-year age categories.
“I didn’t even know there were Masters athletes until 1992 actually, I was turning 50 and the Canadian Masters Games were going to be in Regina. My husband and I had been trying to run a mile and just trying to stay in shape. I looked at these games and there was track and field for 50 plus, and I was turning 50 that year so I thought ‘This is what I will do’,” she said.
“If it’s in my hometown, I won’t have to travel, I won’t waste any money if I make a fool of myself.”
LaFayette-Boyd then went on to break multiple world records at the age of 76 and once again when she reached the 80 plus category. In 2022 she broke the outdoor world track and field records for the 100 metre, 200 metre, Long Jump and Triple Jump. She also broke the indoor track and field records for Long Jump and 60 metre.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I need to take care of myself. Every day I get up, I ride my bike, I read my Bible, do my stretching and I do the elliptical,” LaFayette-Boyd said.
“It doesn’t matter how well you do or don’t do. If you just get out there and keep fit and healthy, that’s what’s important.”
LaFayette-Boyd trains under Chadon Dorsch, the head coach of Excel Athletika.
“She’s been an inspiration to all of us and all of the young kids that we have coming up.
To have somebody of her age and caliber is absolutely amazing,” Dorsch said.
“For me being 46 and coaching an 80-year-old and she listens to me, that’s fantastic,” he laughed. “Our goal is to make our athletes better and get them to the goals they want to achieve. It doesn’t matter what age you are, it doesn’t matter what skill set you are. Everybody’s proud of somebody making that kind of accomplishment. I absolutely love training her.”
Another Masters athlete that trains alongside LaFayette-Boyd is 69-year-old Selina Coward. The two call themselves a dynamic duo because they help push one another to stay healthy and reach new heights in the sport.
“Carol props up my tree when I don’t feel good or if I’m not healthy that day. She pulls me along and it’s the same with her. When she doesn’t feel good or she’s got something on her plate. We talk to each other and we help each other out,” Coward said.
Coward enjoys the sport because she said it makes her feel healthy and strong, among other perks.
“I get mistaken for a 45-year-old which really helps me a lot and people come up to me and say, ‘I’ve seen you working out, how can I do this? ’I’ve offered to help out and give them a hint or two. If I see someone needs help, I don’t hesitate,” Coward said.
The two train amongst the club’s younger athletes every week.
“Right now we’re coming Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday morning. It’s really supposed to be an hour and a half. But we usually end up two hours because we start early to keep up with these kids,” said LaFayette-Boyd.
Despite the fact LaFayette-Boyd has broken multiple records and earned a world-class honour for the second time, she is nowhere near finished when it comes to her career.
“Right now we [Masters Athletics] have three 106-year-old women. One in India and two in the United States. So that’s my goal, 26 [more] years.”
“I think there’s only one thing that I would really like to happen and that’s to get into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. Then I think I can relax and I don’t have to collect any more medals or do anything else. But in order to get there, they say you have to retire and I won’t be retiring for at least 26 years.”