No Sign of Slowing Down

By on August 22, 2019

DeHaven enjoying competing, setting records on the world’s stage

Deb DeHaven of Ephrata poses with her medals at the North, Central America and Caribbean Region of World Masters Athletics Champion-ships in Toronto, Canada July 18-21.

Deb DeHaven of Ephrata poses with her medals at the North, Central America and Caribbean Region of World Masters Athletics Champion-ships in Toronto, Canada July 18-21.

By day, Deborah DeHaven is a para-educator, providing learning support for children with special needs in the Ephrata School District. She also teaches seasonal classes at the Ephrata Rec Center and coaches an Ephrata Middle School girls’ soccer team.

In her spare time, at age 60, Deb is busy breaking U.S. and World records in track and field.

She competed July 18-21 in Toronto, Canada in the North, Central America and Caribbean Region of World Masters Athletics (NCACRWMA) Championships.

“I was competing in the Pennsylvania Keystone State Games in soccer,” explained DeHaven, last week in her Clay Township home. “They eliminated soccer in the Keystones and I thought I’d like to compete in something.”

So, at age 57, she became a rookie in a sport that she never competed in before.

“I played basketball and softball in high school,” added DeHaven, 1976 Cocalico High School graduate.”But I had the time of my life because of the camaraderie and the competition.”

More than 1,100 athletes from 31 countries competed at Toronto Varsity Stadium and TTFC Stadium. DeHaven competed in five events, collecting top eight finishes in all five in the W60 (60-64 year old) class.

She captured two silver medals (triple jump, 300 meter hurdles) and one bronze (long jump) to reach the medal stand. DeHaven also finished fourth in the 80 meter hurdles and seventh in the 100 meter dash.

“I started as a sprinter, with nothing longer than 400 meters,” said DeHaven. She quickly added long jump, triple jump and javelin, even the hurdle events just a year ago.

“If you have a passion for competition, that’s going to stick with you,” explained DeHaven. “I work very hard as a para-educator. It’s also a passion for me to teach kids sports at the Rec Center. It’s very contagious since I started.”

The record was broken at the National Indoor Masters (age 40 and over) championships March 1-3 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. DeHaven ran the third leg of the 4 X 400 relay in the W45 (45 and older) race with Rosemarie Hoslyn (52, born in Jamaica), plus a pair of 45 year-olds, Jo Rupp and Nicole Harris.

“All I thought about was I can’t let anyone pass me,” admitted DeHaven. “I’ve got to keep that lead that my team has for me.”

The time of 5:28.31 has been approved as a USA American Masters Track and Field record. The August 5 confirmation also informed DeHaven that the World mark would be ratified by early October.

DeHaven also has three records (400 meters, javelin, long jump) at the Delaware State Masters meet. She also ran two relay events earlier this year (4 X 100, 4 X 400) with her Philadelphia Masters teammates at the iconic Penn Relays.

“You have to be registered with the United States Track and Field Association,” explained DeHaven, when asked how she qualified for the World Championships. “I have a card, an official number and a uniform. It has an Olympic feel. Everybody that works there is so professional. You see the flags. It’s just a really cool experience.”

“It’s pretty special to put on the USA uniform,” continued DeHaven. “In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought that that day would have ever happened for me. They also found out, when they went through my standards (distances and times) that I made All-American.”

Looking forward, she has designs to cut back a bit on both training and her aggressive event schedule.

“When you get older, you have to train smarter and not harder,” described DeHaven. “When I first started, I would do three of each event every day. Since I’m doing hurdles, I’ve backed off doing sprints.” She also plans to drop the javelin.

But DeHaven has no plans to stop competing any time soon.

“I’d like to stay with the Philadelphia Masters,” added the USA record-holder. “If I end up with health issues, or I’m not having a good time, then that’s when I’ll call it quits. My goal is to break the 100-year-old record. We’ll see what happens. I’m already lining up drivers.”

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