Lex Marcusen, an 81-year-old track champion from Kaysville, is one of those people. He came home from the recent Huntsman World Senior Games with an armful of medals in a wide variety of track and field events, a habit of his on several occasions for more than the last 15 years. He even still holds records at both the Huntsman games and the Utah Summer Games, and over the years has set several others.
“I have the medals up in the kitchen by my Danish flag,” said Marcusen. At this point, he has collected more than 50 gold, silver and bronze medals in a wide variety of events. “My wife always says ‘That wall belongs to you. There’s not room for me to put anything up there.’”
Marcusen, who has run since he was a child, competed as part of the Utah State University track team when he was in college. Though there weren’t many track and field events to be had between then and the start of his current medal run in 1992, he still found plenty of opportunity to stay active.
“I kept myself in pretty good shape,” he said. “My wife would watch the kids, and I would go out and exercise. I also had exercise equipment in the basement, including something similar to a treadmill.”
When he decided to get back into competition in his late 60s, he considered the entire realm of track and field open to him. He’s won medals in everything from the 50 and 100 meter races to the javelin throw, and the high jump, and the pole vault (which he has previously set records in).
“You have to have a good running start, and hold on for dear life,” he said with a laugh.
Though he has favorite events that he competes in most years he goes to the games, particularly the shorter races, he re-explores his other options fresh every competition.
“I just go practice the event, and if I think I’m doing well I decide I’m going to go for it,” said Marcusen, who has also medaled in a couple of basketball shooting events down at the Huntsman World Games. He practices for all his events by training over at the South Davis Rec Center. “Then I size up my competition and see if I feel like I can beat them.”
Marcusen still has a few staunch competitors who have followed him through the years, including Salt Lake resident and fellow runner Creed Haymond.
“He just barely beat me this year, but in earlier years I was quite a bit faster,” he said. “He’s a good friend, but a fierce competitor.”
His wife serves as patient support, even if she can’t quite understand his attraction to the sport at times.
“She sort of lets me just go do my thing,” he said. He added that his wife is a captain with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. “She’s a literature buff. Does a lot of reading.”
As for Marcusen, however, he’ll keep going back to the track for as long as he can.
“As long as my health is good I’ll keep going,” he said. “I enjoy it.”