Get healthy and take on Iowa legend Chuck Long

Ogden column: Former Iowa QB now challenging Iowa to get fit

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It’s been more than a few years since Chuck Long donned a black-and-gold jersey and threw touchdowns passes — or ran naked bootlegs — inside Kinnick Stadium.

And there’s a pretty good chance you never caught a pass from or took a shot at Long, who quarterbacked Iowa to four bowl games in the 1980s and remains the only college football player to participate in five bowls.

Next month is your chance to see where you stand against the College Football Hall of Famer — as long as you are 50-and-over and can play a little golf, pickleball or run on the Coe College track.

You see, these days the 54-year-old Long spends the majority of his time planning and promoting things like the Eastern Iowa Senior Challenge, which returns to Cedar Rapids for the second year May 12-13.

As CEO and executive director of the Iowa Sports Foundation, Long is passionate about getting you off your couch and out of your house. In addition to the Eastern Iowa Senior Challenge, Long also is in charge of the Summer Iowa Games, the Winter Iowa Games, Live Healthy Iowa and a variety of events under the Iowa Senior Games, among other things.

The Iowa Sports Foundation’s mission statement is “igniting the competitive spirit of Iowans through sports, recreation and health.”

It’s not about competing against Long, who happens to be training for a half-marathon. It’s about living that mission statement and convincing others to do the same.

During a recent stop in Cedar Rapids to promote the Eastern Iowa Senior Challenge, Long said a lot of what he sees at these events are “inspirational” to him.

So what are you waiting for? Get up, get out and get healthy — and take a shot at a former NFL quarterback while your at it.

Registration is well underway for the Senior Challenge and for $30 you can sign up for an unlimited amount of events — bowling, golf, granny basketball, pickleball, table tennis, tennis, swimming and track events from the 50 dash to the 1,500 run as well as seven field events.

Your can find entry forms at Hy-Vee stores or go to www.iowaseniorgames.org.

l Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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