National Senior Games pulls site switcheroo for 2nd time in row

Site of National Senior Games in 2013: Baldwin-Wallace College.

Two years ago, I gave the National Senior Games Association grief for announcing a venue change — switching the track meet portion of the National Senior Olympics from Houston to Humble, Texas, about 19 miles away. Now we learn they’ve done it again — moving the late July 2013 meet from Cleveland to the western suburb of Berea, about 16 miles away. Two athletes who noticed the change have written me or the NSGA to complain. Masters Moles 266c(3) and 76664a shared their concerns this month, focusing on travel and facility issues.

One thrower wrote me January 10:

I noticed last night that this year’s National Senior Games track and field venue has been moved to Baldwin Wallace, in Berea.  I am sure that you remember that this was the site of the 2011 USATF Masters Champs.  This is generally a great venue.  The exception is the hammer cage. We used this cage during the 2011 USATF Masters Championships.

The fabric of the cage has large holes in it, making it unsafe for both competitors and spectators. Additionally, the throwing field is used more frequently for a parking lot than as throwing field, and is quite uneven and rutted, rendering it unsuitable for setting any records, and difficult for officials to move around. And, finally, this cage is over a mile away from the track, making it very difficult for multi-event athletes to get back and forth in short time frames. The shuttles that were promised in 2011 were infrequent and almost useless.
I have sent an e-mail of concern to the National Senior Games organization, but have a feeling that they will be even less concerned about hammer throwers that the folks that select the USATF masters venues.

Today another masters athlete shared the note sent to the NSGA:

Last year I qualified in track and field for the National Senior Games because they were advertised as being held in Cleveland. I have now gone to your website only to find that that the track and field meet has been moved out of Cleveland to Berea, OH.

Worse, there is only one bus line Rt. 86 serving Berea and it operates on an hourly schedule. Worse yet, the Rt. 86 does not even run to downtown Cleveland, but requires a transfer. This means that bus service from Cleveland requires two buses and could take as long as an hour and a half one way.

One late bus and an athlete could miss an entire session. Why would the “Cleveland” National Senior Games move the track meet outside of Cleveland?

As I did in 2011, I’ll write the NSGA for an explanation.

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January 26, 2013

12 Responses

  1. peter taylor - January 27, 2013

    For runners and jumpers from around the country who are flying to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, this looks like a tremendous break, given how close the airport is to Baldwin Wallace College (only 3.21 miles according to the college website). Compare that to the distance between the airport and downtown Cleveland.

    Those who were hoping the meet would actually be in Cleveland will be disappointed, of course.

    Throwers have caught a bad break here, given the facilities at Baldwin Wallace.

  2. peter taylor - January 27, 2013

    To clarify my statements above, I should not have included all the throws. Just those throws that are conducted at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, which are probably limited to the hammer.

    But if I were a high jumper, sprinter, hurdler, or distance runner, for example, and I signed up for Senior Games at an unknown Cleveland location, I would be thrilled to find that it is being held at a well-known T&F site, Baldwin Wallace College.

    After all, Baldwin Wallace has been home to six NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, not to mention our 2011 masters. Further, as noted, it is close to Cleveland Hopkins Int’l Airport. Of course, if I actually lived in Cleveland and wanted the meet there, I would be upset.

  3. Mary Harada - January 27, 2013

    My feeling is that I have been there and done that – Berea is an ok location for a Masters meet – but without a car – it is difficult to get around. I no longer wish to rent a car and drive around in areas with which I am not familiar. I especially do not want to do that at night.
    Part of the fun of the National Senior Games is watching other competitions – without a car – not possible is it! Will the NSG run shuttle buses to the main venues? I bet not.
    Track and Field athletes will need to stay in hotels in Berea – not in Cleveland – and miss the many things to see and do in Cleveland.
    This may be the summer I just skip the national meets.

  4. Stephen Robbins - January 27, 2013

    A few comments from someone who lives in the Cleveland suburbs:
    – I believe the track meet was moved from Case Western to Baldwin-Wallace because the Case throwing facilities weren’t up to par.
    – The BW track is quite a bit faster than Case’s. Case is a great training track but a bit too soft for fast times.
    – Berea is very close to the Hopkins airport and there are a lot of hotels convenient to the Berea track.
    – Neither BW or Case are close to downtown Cleveland.
    – Cleveland has a light rail (the red line) that runs from the airport with stops downtown and at Case (University Circle). Most non-track activities will be at Case and Cleveland State. Unfortunately, there is no stop on the Rapid for CSU.

  5. Bert & Kathy Bergen - January 27, 2013

    Once again Track & Field seems to be the poor step-child of Nathional Senior Games. First they move the meet a week away from the Outdoor Masters Nationals making it very expensive to fly twice to the same region or to stay an extra week in a hotel with meals. Now they move it out of Cleveland where we could have part of the festivities.

    National Senior Games are just not worth it.

  6. Christel Donley - January 27, 2013

    As far as the track and field venue is concerned, was I the only one to think/know? that Berea – BW was THE location?

    For the last 2 yrs. since we had Nationals there,
    the talk was Berea.

    The time between our Nationals and the NSG, has changed and that is a problem, as the Bergens said:
    we need to travel twice, which is very costly, or stay for a week somewhere else, same difference as far as expenses.

    Mary, if we can co-ordinate our hotels and there are
    plenty around, we’ll give you a ride!

  7. tb - January 28, 2013

    I also always thought it was Berea. I doubt that I’ll travel twice, though, now that the meets are so separated by so much time.

  8. Jerry Orange - January 28, 2013

    2010 (Sacramento) was my first Nationals and I was impressed with how well things were done, how friendly the competitors were and immensely enjoyed the area.

    In 2011 I went to the Nationals in Berea and things were again well done and we enjoyed everything. I was disappointed to hear the NSG had chosen Cleveland and now that is is the same track, I can really say “been there and done that”.

    I was hoping to run Nationals in Kansas city and then go to Cleveland but was finding it difficult to justify both. I guess due to the timing and location of NSG, the decision became easier.

  9. Dan Kelly - January 29, 2013

    If they are using Baldwin-Wallace College, it’s a nice location with hotels nearby. Had a very good experience at last years Masters Nationals by staying on campus.

  10. Andy Smith - February 11, 2013

    The change of venue is interesting. There are good hotels near the track. The problem is for the racewalkers. According to the posted info, the 1500 will be at Baldwin Wallace track but the 5K road walk will be in downtown Cleveland. Not sure where the actual downtown venue is but this could be a problem since the 5K is the next day. It would be nice to have the road walk in Berea but given the problems during the 2011 Outdoor Nationals with the road course this may not be good.

  11. Mike Madden - June 11, 2013

    The Stanford site in 2009 was ideal for competitor venues and spectators – track, pool, tennis court, basketball and volleyball court all at the same location. I didn’t appreciate how lucky I was when I went to my first National Senior Games. I am signed up for basketball and track in Cleveland. My triple jump will be the same time as my first B-ball game, only 20 miles apart. Nor can I watch B-ball outside of my division: they moved the men’s 65-69 basketball (& only that division) to Case Western, while the 70 year olds with whom we practice remain at Cleveland State the same days. They don’t do these switheroos for the competitors or the spectators. Venues are obviously not a consideration in site selection. Alabama had a great site where almost all activities could be done at the same university, but lost out in its 2015 bid for the National Senior Games.

  12. Margaret Lipscomb - October 9, 2013

    I attended the Cleveland Games, mostly in track and field. Because the T&F meet was in Berea, I stayed there. As a result I spent almost no time in Cleveland, and spent almost no money there. I do not think this is what a city wishes for when they host a National Senior Games event.

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