Pelkey shows no sign of slowing down

In 27 years on the Schenectady police force, Dennis Pelkey often ran after criminals who didn’t expe

In 27 years on the Schenectady police force, Dennis Pelkey often ran after criminals who didn’t expect the man in blue to catch up to them so quickly. Now, he just runs for fun.

Pelkey’s legs have always been his strength, and they are still working extremely well at age 65. He’s been retired from the police department for 10 years, but he’s still active in his favorite pastime. He recently won the USTA 60-meter championship with an 8.4 at the Dartmouth Relays, and he’s currently ranked No. 1 out of 4,700 runners in that age division.

“I work out every day,” Pelkey said. “I work out at Union College occasionally in the mornings, but most of the time, I work out at Schalmont High School, because I live very close by. I usually go over to Schalmont at 5 a.m. to 5:30 or 6 to get my workouts in.”

Pelkey was a standout running on the 1967 Mont Pleasant football team under coach Larry Mulvaney. He also ran both indoor and outdoor track. When he graduated in 1968, he owned the school record in the 100-yard dash at 9.8, and he still owns it, because high school distances are now measured in meters.

“I’ve always liked running,” Pelkey said. “Out of the 27 years I spent as a policeman, 20 were in uniform, and the final seven were on the vice squad. My partner and I really liked the vice squad back then, because we just did our work and nobody bothered us. I’d like to think both he and I were two of the good guys.”

During his years on the police force, Pelkey began competing in the Police & Firemen Games, a sort of Olympics with various sports and competitions. He owns several records there and now travels around the world competing with his wife, Sheryl, also a Mont Pleasant graduate.

“Two years ago, I was competing in the Police & Firemen Games in Belfast, Ireland. I had a minor accident that kept me out of the 100 and 200, but my wife was with me, and I really didn’t want to miss the whole thing. The last event was the 4×100 relay. She’s a physical therapist. I just had her tape me up. Instead of running the anchor, like I usually do as the team captain, I ran second. We were in last place after our first runner came in, but we ended up pulling away to win it over teams from Russia and France. It was very memorable for me.

“Now we do quite a bit of traveling to run. It’s a lot of fun.”

Pelkey’s competitive fire burns even hotter than it did when he was a youngster. He still loves to win races, and break records.

“I just registered for the National Indoor Track Champ­ionships in Winston-Salem on March 21,” he said. “My goal is to be the top sprinter in the world in my age group. I know I’ll be running against a guy named Charles Allie from Pennsylvania. He’s may be a couple of hundredths of a second faster than I am, and we’ve never run against each other before. Hopefully, I can beat him there.”

Pelkey and his wife love to travel, and he always runs when they do. Whenever his legs start to bother him, Sheryl gets him back in shape.

They are quite a team.

“Dennis doesn’t like to talk a lot about himself, but I’ll do the talking for him,” she said with a laugh. “I’m a retired therapist from BOCES, but I still do a lot of work on him to keep him going. We have a lot of fun traveling together, and I love to watch him run.”

Categories: Sports

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