At 74

Retired Surrey firefighter takes on the world

Bill McNamara adds World Police and Fire Games Hall of Fame Induction to haul of 51 medals.

A retired Assistant Surrey Fire Chief and local senior is showing no sign of slowing down with his recent haul of medals at the 2015 Police and Fire Games.

Bill McNamara, 74, returned home with eight medals along with an induction into the first-ever Police and Fire Games Hall of Fame.

The games were held in Fairfax, Virginia from June 26 to July 5.

Since the first games held in San Jose in 1985, McNamara has won 51 medals in total – 13 gold, 17 silver and 21 bronze. Over the years he has held seven games records.

“Every two years I would tell myself, as long as I make the podium I’ll go to the next games,” said the fit, energetic senior, “and every year I have done it, so I couldn’t stop.”

Going into this years event, McNamara had won 43 medals, and since this year was his 50th wedding anniversary, his goal was to get seven medals to match his years of marriage. He overshot his goal, however, winning eight medals in the eight events he entered.

McNamara has been competing in the 70-74 age group but because few competitors are able to compete at his age, he competed in the 60-65 age category for two events – and still finished in the top three.

One event was the stair race, a timed race up 29 floors where he placed second and the other was 4 x 400m relay where he and three other competitors won gold and broke the games record. The record would have been a Canadian record as well, however one of the Canadian runners got injured and had to be replaced with a runner from France, making the team ineligible to the national title.

“It was the last event on the last day and that made it so exciting,” he said

When he joined the fire service at age 30, McNamara realized he needed something to keep up the level of fitness needed to work in the physically demanding world of a firefighter and having seen many older firefighters suffer serious health issues due to declining fitness, he didn’t want that to happen to him.

“I was a pretty fit guy when I first started, but I started running track to keep fit, mostly the 400 and 800-metre,” he said, “because those races get your heart rate up quickly and you need to maintain that level which is very similar to when a call comes into the fire hall.”

He realized fitness was not only the key to his job but to enjoying life after retirement.

“I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I eat well, and I do enjoy a nice glass of wine occasionally, too. Really nothing has changed, it’s just that now I have to work a little harder.”

Despite having a few aches and pains in the morning, having supportive family and friends is what motivates him.

Throughout the year McNamara maintains a busy schedule, balancing gym and track workouts up to six days a week along with many volunteer commitments, including being on the board of directors for both the Surrey Museum and Archives and the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

Although he feels his pace is beginning to slow, maintaining a high fitness level remains his main motivation. He has no plan to stop competing.

His goals include the World Masters Track and Field meet in Perth, Australia next year, but he’s trying to let his body recover before he makes any firm commitments.

“I have always prepared myself to be ready for whatever comes,” he said, “and my plan is to keep going until I drop.”

 

Just Posted

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Surrey woman plans to travel after winning $500,000

Frances Jarvos bought her winning ticket at Willowbrook Mall in Langley

Crime in Surrey dropped by four per cent in 2018 from 2017, city’s top cop says

Surrey RCMP OIC sharing the news with council Monday as city transitions to city police force

Child struck because driver didn’t clear ice from windshield, say Delta police

The child wasn’t seriously hurt and the driver was ticketed for driving with an obstructed view

MINTY: ‘Opening the Doors’ at Surrey gallery with local artist Joanne Dennis

Also, a called for submissions in Arts Council of Surrey’s ‘Just Gates’ exhibition

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read