Track athlete Larry Johnston, 67, with medals he recently won. (submitted photo)

Fleet-footed Surrey senior makes dream come true on the track

Sprinter Larry Johnston, retired from a local bus company, now runs for gold medals at Senior Games

By Mary Ruth Amundson, contributor

Surrey resident Larry Johnston is following his dreams with a healthy dose of dedication, perseverance and hard work.

His recent performances in competitive 100- and 200-metre races (in the Men’s 65-69 age bracket) have been astounding. In February, he won four medals at the Senior Olympic Games in both California (two gold) and Arizona (two silver), and earned another two gold medals at the Arizona Senior Olympics in 2017.

Johnston also recently won several Senior Games events in B.C., including a gold medal in the Mixed 4×100 Relay, silver in the Men’s 4×100 relay, two bronze in long jump and one in triple jump.

Johnston, 67, who is retired from his job as service manager with Coast Mountain Bus Company, recently rediscovered a love of track and field.

Many years ago, in school, Johnston was involved in track and field. He was a fast runner who, at age 15, won his last race entered as a teenager.

In his mid-50s, he met the head of the B.C. Senior Games, and decided that when he turned 65, he would “see what I could do” on the track.

So, close to two years ago, track and field became his focus again, and Johnston discovered the Greyhounds Masters Track & Field Club located in Surrey.

The club provides great camaraderie and assistance, Johnston said, and the other members help him to stay motivated, healthy and active – they’re also “a great group of people.”

When he got involved, Johnston had many hours of training and hard work ahead of him. The workouts, both then and now, consist of two-and-a-half hours hours of warm-up exercises, jogging and a series of sprints three days a week.

Along the way, Johnston lost 40 pounds. He takes it a little easier while vacationing in Arizona, working out only two days a week, but he still aims to follow the training schedule the Greyhound club sends out weekly, so he doesn’t fall behind in his regime.

Bonnie, Larry’s wife of 45 years, provides her husband with unconditional support.

“I told Larry that I would never stop him from doing anything that he really wanted to do in life,” Bonnie says.

“It is extremely important for people to follow their dreams,” she added.

Johnston says it was a “dream” to win a gold medal in the Senior Olympics, and extremely satisfying to be able to accomplish this so soon after he became serious about track and field.

His next goals include running the 100-metre dash in 14 seconds, which is more than one second faster than his current record. Johnston admits he has his work cut out for him. But, if and when he accomplishes this goal, he plans to still compete in the B.C. Senior games, where Bonnie also hopes to enter competition events.

Larry continues his interest in other activities, including tennis (he currently plays three times a week), travel, music and spending time with Bonnie, the love of his life. Involvement with grandkids, including their baseball and soccer games, is also a priority.

“Best thing we ever did was retire,” Johnston said.

Johnston is truly an inspiration. His overall health, happiness and accomplishments are evidence of the many benefits of continuing to grow, achieve and reach for goals and dreams – especially as those candles increase each year. Develop a pastime, find a club with similar interests or resurrect a long-forgotten dream. You may discover a passion that is just waiting discovery.

Just Posted

White Rock rail forum leads to renewed calls for relocation

Upgrading safety is not enough say local politicians

White Rock’s Johnston Road to re-open on schedule: city

One lane in each direction expected to open by Friday at 7 p.m.

Family dynamics comedy comes to the Langley Playhouse

Brad Williams is directing the fall production of a comedy, Be My Baby, at the Langley Playhouse.

McCallum says Surrey LRT communication plan close to election is ‘perceived interference’

McCallum ‘gravely concerned’ Surrey and TransLink will violate election financing rules, but city says all rules will be followed

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read

l -->