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Road racing duo set for nationals

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Competing in road races never grows old for Bill Chapin and his friend Bob Hasseler.

The duo, who both hail from Watertown, will once again compete in the National Senior Games later this month in Cleveland.

Both competitors are coming off notable performances in the Empire State Senior Games, held in June at SUNY Cortland.

Chapin and Hesseler combined to capture six gold medals in the competition last month — with Chapin winning the 5- and 10-kilometer races, as well as prevailing in the 1,500-meter run and running on the winning 1,600-meter relay.

“It’s fun to compete in events like these,” said the 70-year-old Chapin, who competes in the 70-74 age group. “I’m really looking forward to the national games.”

Chapin won the 5K in 22 minutes, 55 seconds, as well as the 10K (49:10), the 1,500 (6:20) and the 1,600 relay.

Not to be outdone, Hasseler won both the 5K (23:10) and 10K (49:28) races in the 75-79 age group.

Hasseler is the defending national champion in both events after winning both races in 2011 at the national senior games in Houston.

“You’re up against some very good competition,” said the 77-year-old Hasseler, who is a retired Watertown High School teacher. “It’s like a new challenge every time, but you just try to concentrate on every one in your age group.”

Hasseler won both road race national titles two summers ago while enduring hot and humid weather in Texas. Chapin finished fourth in the 5K and eighth in the 10K that year.

This year’s nationals in Cleveland are scheduled to take place July 19 through Aug. 1 at various venues across the city.

“Each event is run in a different location, so you never know what you’re going to run into,” said Hasseler, who along with Chapin qualified for nationals last year. “This year in Cleveland, the 5K will be run in the zoo and the 10K will be held through the middle of Cleveland, like down near Cleveland Stadium.”

Hasseler also won the 5K and 10K championships at the 2007 national games held in Louisville, Ky.

Also competing in this year’s senior games is David Rider of Brantingham, who won six gold medals last month at the Empire State Senior Games.

Rider, 83, won the hammer throw (22.26 meters), shot put (6.6 meters), triple jump (6.09 meters), long jump (2.95 meters), high jump (1.05 meters) and pole vault (1.68 meters).

Competing in the 80-84 age group, Rider plans to take part in all six events at nationals.

Rider has competed in several national senior games over the years and won a gold medal in the pole vault at the age of 75 at the 2005 event in Pittsburgh.

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