Another statewide meet, another haul of gold medals for Marvin Caperton.
The Pahrump resident has made a habit of bringing home gold in sprint events, and this year’s Nevada Senior Games were no exception. Competing in the 60-64 age group — for the last time, he noted — Caperton swept the 50, 100 and 200 meters at UNLV’s Myron Partridge Stadium in Las Vegas.
“I am qualified for the nationals in all three of them,” Caperton said. The National Senior Games, held every other year, will be held June 14-25 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Making this year’s medal haul a bit more impressive is the fact Caperton had cataract surgery a little more than a month before the competition.
“They didn’t get it all,” he said of the Aug. 20 procedure. “The cataract surgery didn’t work as well as I thought it would. But I don’t need to see very well to run straight.”
And obviously, Caperton knows how to prepare for a track meet.
“I had four weeks, which was enough for me to do what I needed to do,” he said.
He ran the 50 in 7.46, a number that did not impress him.
“Usually I’m really good in the 50 meters,” Caperton said. “I ran 7.4, but I stumbled out of the blocks. I probably would have run a 7.1 or 7.2.”
His time in the 100 meters was more than two seconds better than the next-closest Nevada sprinter, but the 200 was the big one for Caperton. He shaved roughly a half-second off of his personal best, finishing in 29.14 seconds. Allen Bauer of North Las Vegas, the next-best time among Nevada runners, ran 41.66.
“When I was younger, the 200 was my best event,” Caperton said. “Nobody ever caught me from behind when I was younger, but in my later years, they’re starting to catch me from behind.
“I’m definitely going to fix that, because that’s not me. It’s just about working harder.”
Caperton expressed admiration for those who compete in the Senior Games at far more advanced ages than his 64 years.
“We’ve got people 106, 103 years out there,” he said.
Caperton didn’t start competing on the track when he became old enough for the Senior Games. Back in his college days, he played football and ran track at UCLA and was coached by two iconic figures on that campus and in their sports, football coach Dick Vermeil and track coach Jim Bush, a member of the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Of course, training comes a little easier when you’re in college.
“It’s hard at this age to do that work daily,” Caperton acknowledged. “This is my last nationals in my age group, so I’ve got to start working now for next June. But I will. It’s my last hurrah.”