May 14, 2022 2 min read 1 Comment
Photo: Marcus Chambers and Madonna Hanna celebrate an 8th place.
By Ray Glier
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.___She was eighth—8th!—in the time trials of the Women’s 65 100-meter dash, but joie de vivre erupted from Madonna Hanna as if coming from a fire hose when she learned she made the Saturday finals.
“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! What? I made the finals. Oh my gosh!
Hanna, 67, who is from Tacoma, Wa., had been laying down on a mat stretching out after her time trial run here Friday morning. She jumped up at the news her 17.09 squeezed her into Saturday’s final.
This is the joy that can spring from the National Senior Games. 8th meant another chance to run. It meant progress.
She hugged her coach, Marcus Chambers, an Olympic-hopeful in the 400 meters, who is in training for Paris 2024. She posed for a picture, then covered her face with her hands to rejoice with another “oh my gosh!”
It was as if Madonna Hanna had won gold. “Oh my gosh!” she said again.
She flew across the country without the promise of a medal, but Hanna is just grateful for the chance to compete. The National Senior Games and the Washington state senior games are a rebirth for her, a restart after calamity.
Hanna nearly died in a horrific car crash that killed the driver. She suffered a ruptured Achilles that nearly ended her racing. Her husband died of cancer. Slowly, she gathered herself up. She found a coach, Chambers, a former All-American at the University of Oregon, who was content to work with someone who was not a star.
Madonna did not start well in the Friday the 13th race. She was fifth the first 50 meters, or so, then gained steam and was fourth. Her stride stayed strong, her arms pumped furiously, and she finished third in her heat.
“I was fighting,” she said. A broad smile crossed her face.
Madonna got back down on the mat. She was so excited, she put her warm up pants on backwards.
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