Competitors cheer each other on at Senior Games

Before heading up the rock wall, Pamela Firth checked out the route with competitor Tobey Anderson.

And when Firth reached the top, Anderson clapped and cheered.

That’s because camaraderie is a huge part of the Washington State Senior Games, said Anderson, 61, of Olympia.

“Yeah, we’re out here,” she said. “We might not be as fast as the younger group, but we can still do it.”

In its 18th year, Senior Games is the largest Olympic-style multisport event in the state, and it runs through Sunday at several South Sound venues. It’s designed for ages 50 and up, and this year’s games are expected to draw close to 2,000 competitors, according to Jack Kiley, president of the Washington State Senior Games.

About 75 percent of the participants live 50 miles or more from Thurston County, he added.

This year’s games offer 23 activities, including volleyball, table tennis, swimming and traditional track and field events.

Rock climbing debuted last year, and power walking and trapshooting are new this year, Kiley said.

“Power walking is simply walking fast, but it’s something we can all do,” he said.

Firth’s husband, Bob, 68, has competed in Senior Games since 2001.

This year he did rock climbing, which wrapped up Friday, and he plans to compete in a few of the track and field events, which will take place Saturday and Sunday at Tumwater District Stadium.

Bob Firth said he and his wife train year-round for the Senior Games.

“It helps motivate me to stay in shape and be healthy,” he said.