Carol LaFayette-Boyd: Racing to the Top
“Do your own best.” That was the advice 76-year-old Carol LaFayette-Boyd gave before accepting the award for the World Masters Athletics 2018 Best Female Master Athlete. For almost 30 years, LaFayette-Boyd has been running, high-jumping and long-jumping through the record books, shattering the idea that it’s never too late to get active.
The LaFayette family moved to Canada from the United States in 1906, and Carol was born at a farm near McGee, Saskatchewan in 1942. When Carol was 10, her family moved to Rosetown, and four years later, they moved on to Regina. Carol enrolled in Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, where she played a variety of school sports until graduation.
Shortly after Carol started psychiatric nurse training, she met her first husband, Lester Dodd, who served in the U.S. Air Force and Vietnam. They were stationed in Virginia, North Dakota and Illinois from 1965 until 1972, when she moved back to Regina. By 1977, Carol received her certificate from the School of Social Work at the University of Regina. Seven years later, she married her second husband, Lemuel Boyd.
At the age of 50, Carol worried that she and her husband were at risk of getting out of shape, so they began going for mile-long runs in a nearby park. The Canadian Masters Games were coming to Regina that year, and Track and Field was one of the sports. Carol decided to give it a try, and her athletics career was launched.
Carol has since competed around the world throughout Canada, the U.S., Hungary, Italy and Spain. She holds records for her age group in 50m, 60m, 100m, 200m and 400m racing, as well as long-jump, high-jump and triple-jump. She has made countless friends, memories and has been awarded more medals than she knows what to do with.
Admitting that she feels better at 76 than she did at 35, Carol sees no end in sight and plans to keep taking part until she is at least 100 — with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren cheering her on! Although she knows her records will be taken by a new generation of participants, she doesn’t let that bother her. “My only competition is my own personal best.”
By Kenton De Jong