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ANDY FRAMEsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkMolly MacKown

Molly MacKown’s athletic career can be summed up by a message she found in a fortune cookie. The note read: “You outdistance all competitors.” The 87-year-old Silverthorne resident doesn’t like to brag about it, but she may be one of the most decorated athletes in Summit County.Recently, MacKown took a trip to Pittsburgh, Penn., to compete in the National Senior Games – a trip she makes every other year. MacKown has competed in all but two of the Senior Games, and has attended all of them since its inception in 1987.MacKown has won medals at every Senior Games she’s competed in – too many awards for her to count at this point. But this year was different. It was the first time she won a gold in every event she entered, the 100 and 200-meter sprints and the long jump. “I’ve been striving to get all golds,” MacKown said. “I finally did it.” MacKown hasn’t been running and jumping around the track her whole life. When she moved to Summit County in 1981, the Prescott, Ark., native met a group of seniors that encouraged her to join them running. It wasn’t long before she realized she had the ability to keep up.

“I found out I could run,” she said. “Before that, keeping up with my sons kept me active.”Now she not only keeps up, she’s in a class of her own. In the Pittsburgh Senior Games, she easily won the distance races.”When I finished the 100, the other woman was about two-thirds of the way,” MacKown said. “When I finished the 200, the other woman was at about 100 meters.”The long jump wasn’t such an easy win.”The long jump was the only fun one,” MacKown said. “Only an inch and a half separated the first three women.”In fact, MacKown’s jump of 6 feet, 9 inches, was only a quarter of an inch farther than the silver medalist. The long jump is MacKown’s best event. For 10 years, she held the record in the 75-80 women’s division. Her record jump, 10′ 5”, was broken two years ago when a woman outjumped it by 6 inches.

“I was so glad she beat me by a lot,” MacKown said. “If it was by a half inch, I would have died.”When she doesn’t have her track shoes on, Mac-Kown stays active in other ways.”The mountains, the skiing, the fishing, the outdoors,” MacKown said. “It’s fun living up here.” When did you first realize how exciting a track meet can be?”The first time I was at a state meet in Greeley, the other ladies didn’t look like they could run at all. But I wasn’t ready when the gun went off and they all shot out in front of me, but I still finished second or third.”

How old was the oldest competitor at the Senior Games?”There was a 96-year-old man. And there was a 91-year-old lady, but she didn’t have anyone to compete against, so they put her in our group. I expect to go farther than them.”MacKown gave some good advice to anyone out there that wants to know her secret.”If you don’t use it, you lose it,” she said.

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