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Mother, daughter have fun at Games

Gertrude Disbrow, 81, has competed in different cities and countries.
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Gertrude Disbrow, 81, has competed in different cities and countries.

Gertrude Disbrow uses the skate park in Middletown's Forsythia Gate section to throw the javelin or a weighted ball.

She practices there for the Olympics.

And she's brought home the gold, the silver and the bronze.

The 81-year-old earlier this month grabbed the bronze medal in the javelin throw (36 feet 10 inches) and the silver (17 feet 10.3 inches) in the shot put at the 2009 National Senior Games held in San Francisco. The women's world record for the javelin is more than 237 feet and for the shot put more than 74 feet, according to USA Track and Field.

The gold medals were earned at Pennsylvania's state senior games in July 2008.

Disbrow's 51-year-old daughter, Lorraine Ferber-Brezel also competed in the national games in the 10K race. While she didn't bring home any medals (she placed sixth out of 11), she did have some bonding time with mom.

"My mom really wanted someone to go with her this year," said Ferber-Brezel. "So I did."

The National Senior Games, held every two years, feature about 25 games, 18 for medals and seven just for demonstration for people 50 and up.

Disbrow's interest in the games was sparked after reading about them five years ago. She's been active since.

"I've always done sports when I was young. I competed in different cities and countries," said Disbrow. "(The games) grow on you. You figure, 'I'm going to get it next time.' "

Before Disbrow and Ferber-Brezel could reach the nationals, they had to qualify in their sports at the State Senior Games.

"I concentrated on my running times and increasing my speed at the gym," said Ferber-Brezel. "I've always been a runner and go to Bally's six days a week."

Disbrow, a crossing guard for the Neshaminy School District, goes to the neighborhood skate park to practice.

Because Ferber-Brezel jumped into the fray after Pennsylvania's games ended, she qualified for the nationals at the Delaware State games in October.

"Delaware games were still open and accepting out-of-state competitors,'' she said.

Ferber-Brezel finished with the gold in the 10k race.

After qualifying, the two were off to San Francisco to contend with thousands of others at the national games.

Neither knows whether she'll compete in the 2011 National Senior Games in Houston, Texas. But Disbrow says she'll probably be at the 28th Annual Bucks County Senior Games next year. She participated in those games in 2004 and 2006, she said.

But they are more for fun, according to Jim Kinney, administrator of public affairs for the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging.

"More or less, it is a big social event. We don't stress competition, but good times," said Kinney. "Basically it's to get the seniors up and moving.''

The Bucks County games host more than 20 different sports at locations around the area. This summer's county games, which kicked off in May and ended in June, brought out 325 participants, according to the county's Web site,

Registration for next year's county games will likely open in April. For more information about them, visit the county Web site.