CLEARWATER, Fla. – It wasn’t until her retirement that 85-year-old Leurene Hildenbrand discovered just how athletic she was, and she hasn’t slowed down since.
This weekend, the Pinellas Park woman competed in the Senior Games in Clearwater, hoping to prove to others that you really are only as old as you feel.
"Oh my gosh, years ago I started playing table tennis and from one sport to the next one, I kept on going,” said Hildenbrand, who retired at age 55.
Table tennis gave way to rollerblading and shuffleboard before leading her to pickleball—which she competed in this weekend—and later track-and-field. During the event, she not only ran the 50-meter, but the 100- and 200-meter too.
“It feels good to get back out here,” she said with a laugh.
Turns out, her life before becoming a competitor was just as impressive. Hildenbrand’s resume includes research scientists, concert violinist and cattle rancher.
“I like to do things,” she said. “I was raised on the farm and so I did lots of fun exercises.”
With no plans to slow down, Hildenbrand is hoping to send a message to everyone, no matter your age.
“Everybody knows how good exercise is,” she said. “The important thing is quality of life, and if you don’t have that, you can’t participate in things.”
Hildenbrand was one of four athletes selected as a '2017 Humana Game Changer,' which recognized healthy aging and aims to motivate and encourage all seniors to be active.
Thousands of senior athletes have competed in the week-long event.
►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10 News app now.