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Peat leaps for new lengths

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Bernhard Peat, 55, still holds the record in the long-jump, 22 ½ feet, at Placer High. Now nearly forty years later, Peat is gearing up for another go at breaking records. This time, Peat is hoping to leap to first in the long-jump at the World Master’s track competition on July 16 at Sacramento State University. He may also compete in the 200 and 400-meter events. Peat, who attended UC Berkeley on a full-ride scholarship for football and played professional basketball in Europe for nearly 20 years, said his inspiration came from watching the competition last year. “I happened to see it on TV or something. This guy in his nineties was competing. I thought, ‘If you can do it, than I can do it.’ I need a new challenge,” Peat said. “My mother died when she was 55. I thought this would be a great tribute, to be able to compete at the same age she passed away at.” Peat said that while he has had a prolific athletic career over the years, going back to track will be the fresh challenge he has been looking for. “I haven’t competed in track since I left Placer High School,” Peat said. “I ended up having four records. I have one left, the high jump. I know I’ll be competing against guys who have never stopped, like ex-Olympians.” In March Peat was up to bench pressing 300 pounds — the same weight he lifted in high school. Since then he has tapered off to higher repetitions at a lower weight to increase his speed. Peat said he has his eyes on the prize. “My goal is always to win, or else I wouldn’t do it,” Peat said. “I’ve always competed against guys that were younger than me. I am interested to see what kind of shape guys my age are in.” Following in Peat’s agile footsteps are his grandchildren Eddie and Bayley Vanderdoes. Eddie is a force on the Placer High football team and Bayley, an eighth grader at E.V. Cain Charter Middle School, hopes to play basketball professionally one day. Bayley said she is proud to see her grandfather still competing. “I think it’s good he’s going to Master’s because it’s not everyday that you hear someone over thirty going to track meets,” Bayley said. “He helps me out to stay in good shape and for basketball.” Peat’s daughter, Behia Vanderdoes, said she has every confidence her dad will accomplish his goals. “He is a self-motivated man. I mean for someone his age you don’t see that very often. He keeps going and going,” Behia said. “He said he wants to get first place. I don’t doubt it.” Peat said despite a tight hamstring that has been keeping him from training as much as he would have hoped, his natural athleticism should carry him through. At the end of the day though, Peat said being a workhorse is the only way to edge out your opponents. That’s the message he has tried to instill to his grandchildren. “I do want to be a good example, by being the example,” Peat said. “You have got to work out everyday if want to get to that level. You have to outwork your opponents. Talent alone doesn’t get you to the top.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.