Super Senior: Bonner Brown

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 5:07 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Three days a week, Bonner Brown ties up the laces at Ethos Athletics in Burlington to train with her coach, Emily Cook.

At 76, Brown’s more than half-a-century older than Cook. She’s also her oldest client. “It doesn’t matter how old they are. It matters to me, their mindset coming in here,” Cook said.

Brown moved to Vermont from Texas four years ago to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. Hitting the gym was a small step -- or to be more precise -- a leap on her way to better health. “My original goal was that, and Emily said, ‘Keep on going,’” Brown said.

And that she did, adding weightlifting to her routine. The pandemic has mentally weighed down both of them. Cook is open with her about her own battles with depression. “I think that for me, talking about mental health and talking about exercise together, the biggest correlation, the biggest similarities between the two, is that if you want to be mentally healthy, if you want to be physically healthy, you always need to try,” she said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You’ve struggled with depression?

Bonner Brown: All my life, yes... There were days when I could just barely get out of bed... And the first time in 40 years I’m not taking an anti-depressant.

Mentally healthier along with becoming physically fit, dropping over 60 pounds. Brown also recently took up a challenge -- dead lifting 192 pounds in a competition in Saint Albans, setting four Vermont weight lifting records for her age and weight class. “And when she picked it up I was, ‘Yeah!,’ but I wasn’t shocked at all,” Cook said.

“If anybody had told me a year and a half ago that I would be this strong or I would be doing powerlifting, I would never believe it, Brown said.

A dynamic duo who lift each other’s sprits. “This is where the magic happens,” Cook said.

“I would love to set more records when I’m 85 or even my 90′s,” Brown said. “I see no reason why I can’t do it.”

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