After dedicating over 45 years of her life to caring for people, Sheila Allison retired from her career as a nurse and Nurse Manager in 2010. She started playing badminton again and won a gold medal in mixed doubles at the 2011 BC Seniors Games. Due to elbow problems she switched to slo-pitch but realized, “except for being able to run fast, she didn't possess baseball skills”. In 2012, Sheila signed up for the Vancouver Sun-Run training program and entered her first race. Later that year, she competed in her first track and field meet at the Burnaby BC Seniors Games.
Sheila joined the Greyhounds Masters Club in 2016. She started out as a middle and long distance runner but quickly became a sprinter and jumper as well. Last year she also began training for the throwing events, especially the hammer and weight throws.
Sheila loved to compete in road races, winning medals in almost all of her runs. She took part in the St Patrick's Day 5K, Vancouver's Longest Day 5K, Steveston Ice Breaker 8K, Shaughnessy 8K, Vancouver Sun Run and the 55+ BC (Seniors) Games 10K. At age 72, she tackled her longest race, the 2017 Victoria Half Marathon, taking just over two hours to complete the demanding 21.098 kilometre run.
As a member of the Greyhounds she competed in four 55+ BC (Seniors) Games, winning 29 medals (nine gold, eleven silver and nine bronze), all in the W70 age group. Her most successful year was the 2018 Games in Cranbrook where she won gold in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10K road race and triple jump. She added an eighth medal, a bronze, in the long jump. In 2019, despite being in the last year of her age group, Sheila won seven medals, including gold in the long and triple jumps, silver in the three sprints, and bronze in two distance races. Entering a new age group in 2020, Sheila was eagerly awaiting the Games in Richmond but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Games were cancelled.
Sheila competed in three BC Masters Indoor Championships, her first being in 2018. She had a very good meet, winning gold in the W70 60m, 200m and 400m, and adding silver in four events. She did even better the following year, winning six golds (60m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, long jump) and asilver.
In 2020, Sheila was dealing with a broken foot but accompanied her teammates to Kamloops as a 'cheerleader'. Despite wearing a protective boot, she competed in the shot put and won a silver medal.
Her best BC Masters Outdoor Championship was in 2019, in Langley, where she won gold medals in the 100m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, long jump and triple jump, and added silver medals in the 200m and 400m races.
Sheila competed in three Canadian Masters Championships; two outdoors and one indoors. When the 2018 Canadian Outdoor Championships were held in her hometown of Surrey, she won gold in the 800m, 1500m and triple jump, and added silver in four events. In 2019, Sheila travelled to Ste-Therese, Quebec, where she had an outstanding meet. She won all seven of her events – a significant reason why the Greyhounds scored the most points and won the Club Trophy. That same year, Sheila competed in the Canadian Indoor Championships in Edmonton, where she competed in five events and won gold in the 200m and 400m, plus three silvers. In 2020, Sheila and a small group of Greyhounds flew to Saint John, New Brunswick, to compete in the Canadian Indoor Championships. When they got off the plane, they were informed that the meet was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Sheila competed in two International meets; the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah (where she won four gold and three silver medals), and the Nevada Senior Games in Las Vegas (winning gold in all five events). She registered for six events for the 2016 America Masters Games in Vancouver but had to withdraw.
Committed to working extremely hard, Sheila improved every year. In 2019, amazingly, she improved in twelve of her events from the previous year, six indoor and six outdoor events. At the Greyhounds' year-end banquet there was no questioning why Sheila won the award for the Most Improved Athlete of the Year.
In late 2019, Sheila had to wear a 'boot' to protect her broken foot. Unable to run for three months, she rode the exercise bike and lifted weights. In our Greyhounds' In-Club throws and track meets in August, Sheila had excellent results. In September, she competed in her first throws pentathlon at the Cory Holly meet in Vernon. For her perseverance to overcome adversity, Sheila was awarded the Greyhounds' 2020 Comeback Athlete of the Year.
Sheila truly loved track and field – and being a Greyhound. She was more than a dedicated athlete. She was a wonderful person and teammate, always positive and willing to help anyone. She served as the First-Aid Coordinator for our meets and was the club's Medical Liaison Officer.
Sheila's daughter describes her mother as “kind, caring, compassionate, funny and energetic...who lived and loved life to the fullest. She always saw the glass half full and was up for any challenge…She also loved gardening and had the most beautiful gardens at every place she lived.”
“She may have been little, but she was mighty!”