When former University of New Mexico track letterman Steve Ross heard that the Corporate Cup Track and Field Meet had been reincarnated after a successful run in the 1980s and early 1990s, the 61-year-old shot-putter was eager to sign up.
It was much the same for Albuquerque’s Aldie Alfaro, 48, who in the early 1980s was a member of the Adams State women’s cross-country team that finished third in the NAIA championships. She plans to run the mile in Saturday’s event at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Competition is open to employees of New Mexico businesses, firms and corporations who are older than 21 (no current college athletes) and will consist of 11 different events in men’s, women’s and coed divisions.
In the case of Ross, who is director of advancement at St. Pius High, it’s not like his track duds have been gathering dust since his Lobo days in 1972-73.
This summer, for instance, he will travel to Cleveland for the National Senior Games. In 2005, he was in Edmonton, Alberta, to take part in the World Senior Games and earned a silver medal in the shot with a throw of 47 feet, 2 inches and also was fourth in the discus.
Two years ago in Albuquerque he won his 55-59 age bracket in the USA Masters Indoor Championships at the Convention Center, easily beating out approximately seven competitors with a heave of 44-9½.
“I’ve always worked out. I still lift weights,” he said in a phone interview Monday. “I’ve kept up training and as a result it’s allowed me to compete in track and field in the Senior Games. … It’s a great outlet. It’s fun, and the other thing it’s been interesting because I’ve run into people I competed against in college.
“Typically, I throw three times a week and try to get in 20 to 25 tosses. But I kind of have to watch it because I’m more prone to muscle pulls. In my mind I’m still in my 20s and think I can do anything.”
He said when he threw in the 50s age groups the competition was a bit keener than he experiences in the 60s.
“In the 60s it’s who’s been able to keep their bodies up,” he said. “Some have had knee surgeries or heart attacks. Sometimes it’s just about genetics or being lucky.
“When I first started competing in the Seniors, I had messed up my elbow, so I was feeling sorry for myself. When I got to the meet, one guy’s got knee braces; another guy’s like a mummy, he’s so wrapped up. That was an eye-opener.”
One benefit of advancing age for shot-putters is that the shot gets lighter. Whereas Ross was throwing the 16-pound ball at UNM, where he said his best was 55 feet, on Saturday the weight will be slightly more than 11 pounds.
Alfaro, conversely, hasn’t exactly been keeping up with her specialty.
“I retired from competitive running in 1999,” said Alfaro, a St. Pius High alumna and a Spanish teacher at the Public Academy for Performing Arts. “Many years ago I did four or five Corporate Cups. I was mainly a 5K runner in college. I also ran track in high school.”
In fact, she’s a past winner of a 5K road race in Cup competition. And now, after a 14-year break, she’s back at it.
“I started up again six weeks ago — a 6:30 is what I think I can do,” she said. “I’m still in fairly decent shape.”
She’ll be placed in a classification with other 40-year-olds.
“I hope so, because I don’t want to run against the 20-year-olds,” she said.
Alfaro said she was motivated by the chance to run in the Convention Center.
“I have never competed indoors, and when the opportunity came up it lit the fire,” said Alfaro, who said she has equal doses of anxiety and excitement as the Cup approaches. “I’m looking forward to see what I can do at age 49 or almost. I’m actually resting a little bit (this week). My body is starting to let me know.”