This is my story.

 

I am JoAnn Sampson, a youthful senior athlete, mother of three, grandmother of three, and a 2000 retired classroom teacher with the Miami-Dade County Public School System of 35 years. In my spare time I speak a various schools in Dade and Broward County, sharing my story to students.

 

One afternoon I was reading the Sun Sentinel, I noticed the article advertising for South Florida Senior Games held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I called the telephone number given and being the “I can do that” person that I am quickly signed up for Track and Field to run the 100 meters race. After the decision was made and matters were handled, I thought to myself, “how can I do this?” I have never had any training for running. As a matter of fact, I have never competed in any running event in my life. I decided within myself that this is an opportunity for another career.

 

I began training, which included walking, jogging, and running 5 to 8 miles every morning five days a week, and in the evenings I would do stretching and yoga.

 

Once I built my stamina up, I began speed running. On February 8, 2002, which was my first race, at the age of 62, I competed in the 2002 South Florida Senior Games held at Boyd Anderson Senior High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In that race I came in first place and clocked in at 21 seconds to receive my first Gold Medal. This event enabled me to qualify for the 2002 Florida Senior Games State Championship, which was held on December 14, 2002 in Lakeland, Florida. I exceeded my time and clocked in at 19:44 seconds, bringing home The Silver Medal.

 

Currently, I compete in the South Florida Senior Games, The National Senior Games, The Masters Invitational Track Meet, Atlanta Senior Olympics, USA Track & Field National Masters Championships, The Southeastern USA Track & Field Master Championships, and The Southeastern Masters Regional Championships.

 

August 2006, USA Outdoor Tack & Field Championships at Belk Field, Charlotte, NC. I ranked number three in the nation, in my age category (women 65-69).

 

I believe in determination, dedication and discipline; age is nothing but a number; it’s what in your heart that matters. Although you’ve reached a certain age or even ended a career, you can start a new beginning at something you have never done in your life. All you need is to believe in yourself, because the only one who can stop you is YOU!

 

What I know for sure, I am a child of the most-high God. A woman in progress, looking for new challenges, striving for new ideas, new dreams, new goals in my life.  So, I can, and will inspire someone along the path. I am so grateful that God has given me this opportunity to keep the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.