Masters Games is a walk in the park for this 91-year-old

Joseph Reah, at 91, cuts a dashing figure on Perth social dance floors. 

It’s all for enjoyment, just like his approach to the Australian Masters Games, in Perth on 9–16 October.

Joseph finds himself the Games’ oldest entrant among 6,000 participants.

“My daughter, Janet, volunteered me for this,” he laughs.

The father of eight, who has been widowed for 10 years after the couple’s arrival from England in 1974, says: “I have lived in Australia longer than Britain. Hey, I follow the Aussie cricket team,” he insisted.

After consulting his doctor, Joseph will be tackling the 1,500m walk run event.

“It’s a fast march. I’m limiting myself to the 1,500 metres. I told Janet, I don’t want to bugger my hips or my knees.”

After serving in the British Army, Joseph knows something about discipline and involvement, including dancing.

“In the army, we were ordered to go to dances,” he said.

But dancing developed into a love. In the seniors’ clubs where he’s on the dance floors two or three times a week, Joseph says there’s no shortage of female partners.

“Most men don’t want to dance,” he told Have a Go News.

The seniors’ dancing, in groups of 60-90-year-olds, widened into regular socials in their homes including singalongs around a piano and games of pool.

Clearly, Joseph’s fancy footwork and dedication is going to help him in his Games quest to finish the race in a good time. His past welter-weight boxing matches in British clubs won’t harm his chances either.

Never a smoker nor a drinker, the ex-regimental sergeant-major has set himself a training regime that includes daily spells on his home treadmill and laps around Mundaring oval.

It might be his first competition in any games, but Joseph is just happy to be involved.

“I have watched a lot of my friends have to go into care and I don’t want that for myself. I choose to get active and I’m getting sweaty each day with a good walk.

“Participating in the Games will be a personal achievement for me. I’m excited to be a part of the health movement,” he said.

The national games, back in Perth after 28 years, will attract more than 2,000 supporters of competitors in 50-plus sports.

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