Phil Roberts' dedication culminated Sunday with a gold medal around his neck at the Can-Am Police-Fire Games.

The Dallastown resident said he started training about a year ago; around the start of June, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Roberts, 55, said he couldn't train as hard as he wanted to, but he ended up taking gold in the Toughest Competitor Alive competition.

"I knew that I could do it," he said.

To treat his bladder cancer, Roberts said he's completed one of six treatments where doctors insert a bacterium, which is related to the germ that causes tuberculosis, into his bladder.

"I feel really blessed," he said. "That's nothing" compared to the radiation and chemotherapy many cancer patients have to go through.

And to earn his title as Grand Master B - the 55-59 age group and less-than-200-pound weight class - Roberts had to complete eight events throughout the day: a 3.1-mile run, shot put, 100-meter sprint, 100-meter swim, 20-foot rope climb, bench press, pull-ups and obstacle course.

For the course, he lifted and carried a 135-pound dummy before sprinting, scaling a fence, climbing monkey bars and more, completing it all in 1 minute and 41 seconds.

"I'm happy that I could play ... It was fun, it really was," said Roberts, who retired from the York City Police Department two years ago.

He trained for the games with his 23-year-old son, Reese Roberts, who's in the Marine Corps.

"I'm proud of him ... It was nice to have somebody to train with - and somebody that could keep up," Reese Roberts said.

About 637 athletes registered for about 50 events in the Can-Am Games, which lasted all last week.

Logistically, the games went very smoothly, and the volunteers deserve kudos for "making this happen," he said.

Roberts said he was pleased with his sub-25-minute run and his swim time of 1 minute and 21 seconds.

"I was happy, being one of the older guys here," he said.

Roberts said he plans on participating in the next Can-Am Games, to be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 2016.

Proceeds from this year's games will go toward Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Rena Knarr of Newberry Township went to some events with her husband, Jim, a York City Police officer, and her 8-year-old son Trevor, a Make-A-Wish child with a heart condition.

She said the family wanted to show appreciation for Trevor's wish, a trip to Disney World in 2011.

"We just wanted to shake everybody's hand and thank them for coming," Knarr said.

They didn't know what they were in for, she said: Trevor, who had open surgery about a month ago, hung out with all the athletes and had two gold medals, one silver and a bronze by the end of the week.

Competitors, including a 68-year-old man from Ukraine, gave up their medals to the brave little boy, Knarr said.

"And this kid was just smiling from ear to ear," she said.

- Reach Mollie Durkin at