The Valencia County Senior Olympics participants pose for a photo during the VCSO banquet on Wednesday evening.

Participating at the National Senior Games can be difficult. Costs for travel and hotels are too much for many would-be participants to handle.

However, local competitors will have a better opportunity this summer as the 2019 National Senior Games will take place in Albuquerque, June 14-25.

“It’s a great opportunity to have it in Albuquerque,” said Valencia County runner David Clark. “This is a chance to say I did nationals.”

Clark has been a runner his entire life, beginning as a cross country and track and field athlete in high school. Though he had an injury earlier this spring, he is still looking forward to competing.

Clark will join more than 50 Valencia County competitors at the games. One of those competitors will be Orlinda Duree, who will bowl in the women’s doubles category for ages 80-84.

She said she has been bowling, in total, for around 35 years.

Though she has competed locally and at the state games, this will be Duree’s first trip to nationals.

“I’m getting excited,” said Duree. “I’m telling all of my group to go watch me. We have a few people from New Mexico, but there’s only three of us bowlers from the Valencia County area.”

Thousands are expected to visit Albuquerque and its surrounding areas during the upcoming weeks for the senior games.

Clark said he expects a crowded track during the running events due to the high amount of competitors.

Still, he encouraged more people to participate, and he stressed the value of the local games.

“I think more people should participate at the county level and state level,” said Clark. “It’s very good competition.”

The 2019 National Senior Games will kick off on Friday, June 14.

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