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Fort Knox officer turns inspiration into gold

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By G. ANTHONIE RIIS

At age 54, Col. Shawn Edwards recently earned gold at the Kentucky Senior Games in the 50-meter and 100-meter dash, and silver in the 200.

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She’s just getting started, again.

“I was totally surprised with the results. I’ve been recovering from health issues; we only had about five weeks to prepare for this track meet,” Edwards said. “It wasn’t a lot of train up time. This meet was just supposed to gauge where I was at.”

Where she was at proved enough to qualify her for the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has taken a bumpy and unusually round-about way to get there.

“I ran track in high school. I have always had a love for track
and field,” she said. “I got a scholarship to college, but I started running at a young age and by college, I was burned out.”

Edwards began running again years later as a way to break through to her son, whose raw talent was bringing victory but keeping him from being a better runner.

“My son began competing at 4 years old, and he was fast and winning, but his form was bad. I always told him that if he perfected his form, he would be unstoppable. As long as he was winning, he wouldn’t listen,” Edwards said. “I decided I’d have to show him. I started competing again to let him know that I kind of knew what I was talking about. After seeing me, he started to listen.”

Health issues forced Edwards to be on-again, off-again with her training.

“I started competing in Master Track and Field [events] in 2011 but have been out of the circuit for the past two years where I couldn’t run or work out. I needed to find motivation to work out again after overcoming my health issues,” Edwards explained. “[So] I signed up. It forced me to do the work to be competitive.”

Competition is something Edwards said she learned at her mother’s knee, and it’s something she’s honed in her nearly 20 years in the military.

“My mom has always raised us with hard work and dedication, and I apply that to everything I do within the military. I’ve always strived to be the best that I can be in every position, in every assignment I’ve had in my military career,” Edwards said.

Though surprised to be here so quickly, Edwards and her coaches said they are already anticipating what it will take to win in 2019.

“I’ve been sizing up the competition, and my goal is to be competition-ready because Nationals is going to be tougher,” Edwards said. “Now, I have more time to train, and that consists of weight training to strengthen my legs and core. I do CrossFit and sprint workouts for aerobic conditioning and speed, and I do hot yoga to stretch out muscles — especially since I’m not as young as I used to be.”

Once burned out on running, Edwards said she now feels a desire to run again, and wants to inspire others to pursue the same pastime.

“If someone had told me that I would be competing in Masters Track and Field at 54, I would have laughed,” Edwards said. “For me this is just a start. I still have work to do, and I know I can get faster. This is something I want to do long after my military career is over.”

Edwards said her newfound pleasure in running is far from over.

“You’re never too old for what you have a passion for,” she said. “My son no longer runs track, but my granddaughter is just starting. I want to be the inspiration for her.”