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Senior Olympics another 'marathon' endeavor
By Doug Snover

March 4, 2006

Kerry Fetherston isn't eligible to compete in the Arizona Senior Olympics. Too young.


But the Kyrene Corridor resident, businesswoman, marathoner and bicyclist is piling up the hours and miles lately as one of the organizers of the senior fitness competition that draws elder athletes from across the state to qualify for the National Senior Olympics.


Fetherston has been involved with Arizona Senior Olympics since 1984, when she came to Arizona from Brigham Young University to pursue her master's degree.


She interned with Arizona Senior Olympics and produced a master's thesis entitled, "Perceived Physical Self Efficacy in Older Athletes."
"Basically, I did a lot of research on how activity helps boost self-esteem, personal interactions, and attitudes about life" in senior citizens, she explained.


Sports and promoting sports has become a business as well as an avocation for Fetherston. About ten years ago, she formed Marathon Productions, a company that puts on all kinds of sports-themed productions.


One of her first productions was the Madison (Wisconsin) Marathon in the mid-1990s.
"I was still running in marathons at the time so I was just kind of in marathon mode, so that's how the name of my company began," she said.
"Now what I do is contractual work with various organizations," she said.


Halftime productions for NFL games. A NASCAR concert series called the "NASCAR Speed of Sound Tour." Non-baseball events at Bank One Ballpark. Grand openings. That sort of thing.
More recently, she has focused her work closer to home.


She has served on the board of Arizona Senior Olympics and is listed as the organization's associate director.
"I do public relations, sponsorship, games overview, community outreach. It's a very small staff so everyone really does everything."
"I'm also the skiing commissioner. But skiing we won't be having this year, needless to say," the Colorado native says with a wry smile.


The Arizona Senior Olympics runs through Sunday, March 5.
The only event being staged in the Kyrene Corridor is Saturday's power lifting event at 1 p.m. at the Tempe Family YMCA, 7070 S. Rural Road.


Participants compete in various age groups, with the oldest registered competitor being 80-year-old Carmine Salvador of Phoenix.
Sixty-eight year old Sandra Palais is the one of three women registered to compete in the women's power lifting competition, and is the only lifter from Tempe.
"Power lifting is not one of our biggest events, but it probably has more spectators than a lot of our events," Fetherston said. "We take up the entire gym at the Y' and set up seats so they bring the kids and the grandkids."


One of the Senior Olympics' most popular events is a sport called "pickleball," which is being held this year in Sun City Grand.
"It's really big out in the Sun Cities area. It's played on a court. It's kind of a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis, I guess. But it's smaller than a tennis court. They use a paddle. And it's kind of like a wiffleball. And the net is lower."
"It's fast-moving, and you have to be pretty fit."


It will be a number of years before Kerry Fetherston is old enough to qualify for the Senior Olympics.
When that time comes, she probably will enter the 10K race and cycling events, she said.


Meanwhile, the Fetherston family is planning a trip to Italy later this spring with Tempe Councilwoman Pam Goronkin's family to tour the Tuscany region.


On bicycles, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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