WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — “After 50, dreams don't have to die.”
Glen Turner is living proof that age is just a number. At the age of 68, the physical education teacher at Alexander II Magnet School and assistant track coach at Mount de Sales Academy is a two-time USA Track and Field national champion in the triple jump.
"They'll look and say, ‘Is that you Coach Turner?’ I said, ‘Yes, that's me... wow,'” said Turner. “That gets them out of the mindset that says, ‘You're old.’"
Right when his students think he's done it all, Turner competed in the National Senior Games in triple jump, long jump, and javelin throw. He qualified for the event by placing first during the Golden Olympics in Warner Robins last fall, and he is one of just 500 athletes from across the country to do so.
But one accolade trumped it all: Turner was named the official representative for the state of Georgia and the Golden Olympics as the flag bearer in the opening ceremony and parade of athletes at the games in Fort Lauderdale.
"This is number one,” said Turner. “This is far and above the best. I may have two national titles, but this was the ultimate honor, achievement.”
Alright, so maybe Glen's competing in the senior level competition, but that's about where the ‘senior stuff’ stops because almost everything he's done over the last 50 years has been for Central Georgia's youngsters, which keeps him young in the process.
“They're full of energy,” said Turner. “You want to be able to keep up with them, plus show them a thing or two every now and then.”
As it turns out, it’s not about Turner keeping up with his students, but the other way around.
“They get breathing heavy and I say, ‘Why are you breathing so hard? You haven't done anything yet. Come on, let's go,'" said Turner.
Throughout his career, Turner has spent time coaching at Fort Valley State University, Peach County High School, and now Mount de Sales Academy.
He also worked with the GHSA as the organization’s Track and Field Chairman and Meet Director, in addition to being a figurehead for the National Youth Sports Program, where an emphasis was placed on enhancing opportunities and social awareness for local student athletes.
Those years of work and giving back to the community now have Glen seeing his former athletes turning into coaches themselves. No matter where they may go, the pointers from Coach Turner don't stop.
"It doesn't matter to me what team [or] where you're from,” said Turner. “If I can help tell the coach, ‘you might need to work on so and so,’ it doesn't matter because that's track. Each one, help one."
Turner will compete next at the Georgia Games in Marietta on July 17. After that he start preparing again for the Golden Olympics held in Warner Robins in September.