Mr. Track and Mrs. Field excited for Games
Sharon Stewart will be hard-pressed to find more enthusiastic volunteers than Laurie and Scott Bennett for the track and field competition at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
Stewart, the president and a coach with the Niagara Olympic Club who is the co-lead of the track and field competition along with NOC coach Randy McDougall, received an email from the Bennetts inquiring about volunteering for the Games.
“I was intrigued when they gave me a bit of their back story. They met in track and they had wedding pictures taken at a track. We were excited to have them volunteer at the Games because they have such a keen interest in track and field. We are calling them Mr. Track and Mrs. Field.”
The couple, who will be working at the finish line, are among 80 volunteers who will working the track and field competition at Canada Games Park from Aug 16 to 20.
It is the first time that Scott, 60 and Laurie, 59, have volunteered at a track and field meet.
“I just retired and Scott has been retired for two years and this just came up,” Laurie said. “I was going to be available, that was a big thing, but we had to. It was local and it was in the area. We would have either one track or golf.”
Laurie can’t wait for the Games to begin.
“I want to be down there with the athletes,” she said.
Scott echoes that comment.
“When we signed up we wanted to be down on the track. That’s what we did and we want to be where all the action and excitement is.”
The couple was thrilled when Stewart informed them they would be working at the finish line.
“That is awesome.” Laurie said. “We have been watching the worlds and both of us were wondering what we might be doing because we did register as minor officials.”
The Bennetts have been married for 37 years and running has always been integral part of their lives. They first met in Buffalo while they were competing for the Optimist Track Club. She was 14 and attending Stamford and he was a 16-year-old student at NFCVI.
Both fondly remember their initial meeting.
“I helped her set her blocks,” Scott said, with a smile.
“On the way home, my mom and dad said to me ‘Who was that nice boy who helped you set your blocks?’ and I was like ‘I don’t know. He was just a boy.’ He was on our team,” Laurie said. “I was allowed to date him when he was 16 but we were together when I was 15 and he was 17.”
They also ended up training together in high school.
“The coach I had, Earl Church, tried to recruit Laurie to come over to NFCVI. At that time, NFCVI had a great track and field team and Earl was known around the area,” Scott said.
Laurie ended up taking a bus from Stamford to NFCVI to train with Church. Laurie ran the 100, 200 and 400 metres and Scott competed in the 1,500 metres, 3,000 metres and steeplechase. After high school, Laurie competed in track and field for cross country and track at McMaster and later the couple competed in road races in Niagara.
Their wedding day track pictures were spur of the moment.
“We both decided we wanted to go take pictures at the track,” Scott said. “In Niagara Falls, everyone wants to go down to the park and flower gardens and all that. On our way from the church to the hall, we decided we were going to the Oakes Park.”
It was a sight to behold.
“After the wedding, the limo brought us to Oakes Park. We went out on the track with me in my wedding dress and him in his top hat,” Laurie said. “The picture looks like we were actually moving on the track.”
The track and field wedding vibe continued later that day.
“Everyone back then had going away outfits after the wedding and ours were track suits,” Laurie said.