A former Pender resident is making his mark as a regular competitor in Senior Games throughout the region.
Ron Hennig of Omaha, a 1955 graduate of Pender High School, has been actively training and participating in competitive senior athletic events for a few years now, most recently in Council Bluffs, Iowa, during the 2017 Western Iowa Senior Challenge track and field meet at Iowa Western Community College on Sunday, April 23.
At 80 years old, Hennig won three gold medals that day, tossing the javelin (his favorite event) 44.4 feet while crossing the finish line first in both the 50-meter dash (11.5 seconds) and 100-meter dash (22.49 seconds).
His 100-meter time a few weeks ago was actually better than the 23.59-second mark he posted this past August during the Nebraska Senior Games in Kearney, which qualified him for the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Ala., June 2-15, in the 80-84 age group. He also qualified in
the javelin and softball throw, though he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make it down there to compete this year.
As a graduate of Concordia University in Seward where he lettered in football and track, Hennig has always tried to stay in top physical condition. But after his beloved wife, Judy, passed away in December 2010, he began working even harder in order to get through the grieving process, often exercising late into the night because he had a hard time sleeping.
When he found out about these senior competitions, he figured that was something he could do, and the extra motivation helped him through that difficult time.
Hennig, a retired educator of 39 years who spent 34 of those in the Omaha Public School system, both as a teacher and an administrator, participates in Senior Games several times a year in states throughout the Midwest.