This story was updated on March 28, 2019
Carol Lafayette-Boyd of Regina was presented with the 2018 World Masters Athletics Athlete of the Year award in Toruń, Poland today. Lafayette-Boyd is 76 and holds a number of Canadian and world records in track and field.
Lafayette-Boyd is only there to spectate and to receive her award, however–not because she’s injured, but because she assumed a British shot putter named Evaun Williams would get the honour, so she didn’t sign up. And when she got the news that she had been selected for the award and not Williams, it was too late to enter. (The organization paid for her to go, collect her trophy and be a spectator.)
There’s an upside to not competing, however: “When I’ve gone to Europe in the past I don’t sightsee or socialize, I go to compete,” Lafayette-Boyd told us last week. “This time I’m going to help staff the booth and get to know some of the Canadian athletes that I don’t really know.”
A shot-putter as well as a runner and jumper, Lafayette-Boyd is now retired from the high jump, but continues to set records on the track. Most recently she set a new W75 world record (32.26s) in the indoor 200m at the Canadian Masters Indoor Championships in Edmonton.
Besides her world record in the indoor 200m, Lafayette-Boyd currently holds three Canadian outdoor age-group records in the 4x100m, 4x400m and 4x800m relays, and two in the indoor 4x200m relay. She also won five gold medals at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain in September 2018.
Remarkably, Lafayette-Boyd only started competing in track and field again at age 50, though she had run track in high school, where she was the only black student. “My former high school teacher had told the kids I was coming, but never mentioned that I was black. She said, ‘I want you guys to be nice to her.’ I only found out 20 years ago that she had said that. I was one of her stars for track and field and basketball… ”
When Lafayette-Boyd and her husband, an American serviceman who has since passed away, returned to Regina in 1972 after several years in the US, she got back in touch with her teacher, who sent her to the Regina Athletic Track Club. “We called it RAT. The name has changed, but it’s still the same group.”