Each week, we highlight a local athlete who, through perseverance, sweat and likely a few tears, is making strides in their chosen sport. All are inspirational, and the stories of some really struck a chord with Doppler readers. Here are the top 10 from 2019, by readership (click on each name to read their full story):
Aimee Sinclair (pictured above)
“When I started, I started because I had a pulmonary embolism. I almost died. I was 28 pounds heavier and couldn’t do one push up,” said Aimee Sinclair. “Since introducing fitness into my life it has completely transformed me. I am happier, lighter, I sleep better. I feel empowered, more confident and strong. I believe in me.”
“I try not to complain even when it’s tough and I am sitting in my car crying eating my cold fish,” said Angie Aldridge, who placed second at the Arnold Amateur Classic 2019 bodybuilding competition. “I look at prepping for a show as a privilege, not a sacrifice.”
Mary Spring has helped grow cross-country skiing in Huntsville. In 2019, she participated in the Huntsville 2019 Ontario 55+ Winter Games. Spring encourages everyone of every age, but particularly older adults, to keep themselves moving. “You know, use it or lose it,” she said with a laugh. Though she wouldn’t say so herself, she provides a good example to follow.
When Rich Trenholm first moved to Huntsville, he was not in the best of shape, he said. He had just finished his medical residency which did not leave him time to exercise. But once he saw how active people in Muskoka are and the local opportunities available to live a healthy lifestyle, he began to change his own and began to challenge others to do the things that they thought they never could do. Most recently, he was selected for the medical team at the Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games.
Powerlifter Kelly Murray has only been competing since 2017, but has already earned multiple medals thanks to her dedication and hard work. When Murray powerlifts she feels empowered, energized and overall fantastic, a feeling she wants others to experience. “I want to inspire other women to explore how strong they can be.”
Kim Russel-Brooks ran her very first marathon when she was 54. Last year she placed second in her age category at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, with a time that qualified her to run at the Boston Marathon where she came close to finishing within her goal of four hours. (She finished in 4:03.) Russel-Brooks runs because “it’s an excellent activity for physical and mental health. A great stress reliever. Gets me outside in all weather, enjoying the beauty of nature. It’s a kind of anti-ager for many of the body’s vital organs and muscles…”
Six members of the Special Olympics Muskoka cross-country ski team—Amber Bucholtz, Mark Cheek, James Clarke, John Groenevelt, Randy MacDonald (Coon), and Samantha MacKenzie—qualified to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Winter Games. All brought home medals in their respective categories. “…we sure had a great group of athletes representing our community,” said coach Cindy Blake.
Andrea Hill has been dancing since she was 18 months old. “I dance because it makes me happy,” said Hill. “When I’m dancing, I forget about everything else.” She has been invited to compete with Canada’s National Dance Team at the Dance World Cup Finals in Rome, Italy in June 2020.
Sisters Taylor and Emma McAlpine share a love for basketball. Both learned their skills on the court as Huntsville Hurricanes and played on Huntsville High School teams, with many wins and championships between them.
Emma hung up her jersey after suffering two concussions. “I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to develop and grow as a player in Huntsville and I hope to give other girls that opportunity in my future [as a coach],” she said.
This year is Taylor’s fifth and final basketball season at York University. She, too, has overcome injury and plans to share her passion for the sport through coaching.
It’s only been a few years since Kip Arlidge discovered ultra-distance racing, but there was no looking back once he did. For the second year in a row, he was the first-place finisher in the 56km distance at the Limberlost Challenge in July, a race he set a record at in 2018. And more recently, on September 7, Arlidge participated in his first 100-mile (160 km) race, the Haliburton Forest Trail Race, where he took first place and set a new course record with a time of 15 hours and 36 minutes.
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