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Telkwa man marches off the pounds on his way to national powerwalking titles

Injuries loom over Bob Currie’s return to Canada 55+ Games, but he hopes to remain competitive
In addition to power and racewalking, Bob Currie enjoys hiking as a form of training. (Photo by Doug Witala, courtesy of Bob Currie)

If there was ever a person who embodies the spirit of the Canada 55+ Games, it’s 69-year-old Telkwa resident Bob Currie.

This year, Currie will be participating in the 1,500-metre racewalk and the 5,000-metre powerwalk events for the second and third time, respectively. He has participated in various categories at every Games since 2016.

Currie has won every walking event that he has participated in at the Games. He won the powerwalking event twice (in 2017 and 2018) and the racewalking event once (2017). He also won the 4 x 400 relay race in 2017.

Currie got his start in powerwalking from his friend and fellow B.C. powerwalk competitor, Doug Montaldi.

In 2016, Currie attended the 55+ Games to play cards in the duplicate bridge competition — an event which he also won. Currie described himself as being “largely obese” at the time.

At the opening ceremonies of the 2016 55+ Games, Currie found himself next to Montaldi who was competing in the powerwalking event that year.

For several months leading up to the 2016 Games, Currie had been on a personal weight loss journey. Prior to the start of the games, Currie had lost 60 pounds, bringing himself down from being what he called “morbidly obese.”

“I had already been walking and starting to eat healthy at the time, so after I got home from the games [in 2016], I decided to start training,” Currie said.

Currie started his first year of training by mostly doing short walks to get in shape and to develop the correct form.

Powerwalking regulations require the walker to land on their heel and always have one foot connected to the ground. Racewalking does not have the same restrictions, however, contact with the ground must be made with one’s knees locked straight.

While learning the correct mechanisms, Currie had his family members take videos of his walking and he would study the film in order to ensure he was following the rules.

Now, Currie just tries to keep in shape by doing other activities he enjoys including running, cycling, and rowing.

This year, Currie has not been able to train as intensely as he had in years past because of a broken tailbone and a nagging foot injury.

Despite his injuries, Currie hopes to remain competitive in this year’s races.

When asked what his ideal tournament would look like, he jokingly responded “everybody else falling down so I can win.”

His past success in the games gives Currie a reason to not count himself out this year even with his limited preparations. However, he is not putting too much stock into the outcome of the tournament.

“As long as I don’t disappoint myself with my effort I’ll be fine,” he said.

This year’s games will be the first since 2019, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

According to their website, the Games’ focus is on “the social, physical and psychological well-being of the participants.”

Since the pandemic, Currie says he has cut back on most social activities but will be travelling to Kamloops with his wife, Gail, in one of their first major outings since the pandemic arrived in Canada.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’ll be great to see some familiar faces and have some fun.”

This year’s edition of the Games starts Aug. 23 and runs until Aug. 26, in Kamloops.