Island native goes for gold

Rudy Kelley of Bernard.

Rudy Kelley of Bernard.

TREMONT — Rudy Kelley was born and raised in Bernard. He just returned from Minneapolis, Minn, where he participated in the 2015 National Senior Games, a multi-sport even held every two years. This year, more than 12,000 athletes aged 50 and up participated in the event.

Kelley, 68, had to qualify at the state level before being accepted into the national event. He ran both the five- and 10-kilometer road races, falling into the 65-69 age group.

This was his second time participating on the national stage. He appeared in both events in the 2013 Games held in Cleveland, Ohio. At those games, he won the 10K with a gold medal time of 44:15. He also took home a silver medal in the 5K race, running in a time of 21:02.

This year, Kelley hoped to defend his 10K title. In an email, he said, “The 10K was especially challenging this year with three of us trading the lead from start to finish. I was in second place coming down the stretch and knew if I wanted gold, I had to get up on my toes and sprint really hard.”

The strategy worked, and he went on to win the race with a time of 44:21, just six seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

He also earned silver in the 5K race in 21:07, nearly the same as his 2013 win.

The 2017 games will be held in Birmingham, Ala., with qualifying rounds in Scarborough.

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