Ironman Triathlon seniors a new breed of warrior. It wasn’t that long ago when retirement meant putting an end to anything remotely connected to physical work or mental concentration. Unfortunately the body often sees this as a signal to let muscles turn soft and mental acuity to decline.
It gives new meaning to the term “Use it or lose it.”
If a person reaches their 50’s or 60’s and decides to stop doing anything that signals their body to strengthen muscles, keep their heart pumping strongly, and keep them mentally and emotionally sharp, a rapid decline in health, quality of life, and longevity can be the result.
How often have you heard that we revert back to being as vulnerable as we were when we were children when we grow old? We need people to look after us and when we venture out into the world we are often hesitant and fearful of what lurks around the next corner.
Well not anymore. At least not for those who are willing to push thoughts of old-age aside and take up triathlon and journey into the world of Ironman.
These amazing seniors are fearless and are a living proof that old-age is a meaningless term if you simply refuse to accept it and make demands on the body that inspire it to keep all bodily functions working at peak efficiency.
Yes, there is a new breed of warrior in town.
Out of my way or I’ll run you over with my Cervelo!
Nothing hesitant or fearful about these seniors.
THE SENIOR IRONMAN IS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE
The fact that 60-year-olds and 70-year-olds can endure the demands of a full-distance Ironman and reach the finish line before the seventeen hour cut-off time is in itself a truly remarkable accomplishment.
In the early days of the Ironman a 60-year-old in an Ironman race was an anomaly. Now it is a regular occurrence and every single year more and more senior triathletes are crossing the Ironman finish line in style.
Not only are they crossing the finish line, many of them have their sights set on kicking some butt and winning a spot to the big show in Kona.
IT’S A WORLD-WIDE PHENOMENA
I create Ironman Triathlon race result pages on a regular basis and never fail to be amazed by the results that are being posted by the senior Ironman. This is not just happening in a few races.
This is not just happening in North America.
This new breed of Ironman warrior is making waves around the world very single time the gun sounds to signal the start of an Ironman race no matter where it is taking place.
IRONMAN SENIOR RESULTS POSTED IN 2012
Ironman South Africa– Three were three male finishers in the 55-59 age-group. The winner, Andre Van Heerden crossed the line in 10:45.
There were five finishers in the 60-64 age-group and the top two went under twelve hours.
Ironman St. George Utah– There were five finishers in the male 60-64 age-group.
Ironman Australia– There were six finishers in the female 60-64 age-group and Beryl Wilson won with a time of 12:57.
There were five males in the 60-64 age-group and Ron Wilson won in 11:16 and all five were under 12:10.
Karla Mckinlay represented the female 65-69 age-group and finished the course in 13:33.
Griff Weste went in 11:02 in the male 65-69 age-group.
Not to be out-done, George Hulse who was in the 70-74 age-group finished in a remarkable 12:50.
Ironman Texas– There were ten athletes over 60 who finished the race.
Ironman Lanzarote– Lynne Pattle represented the 60-64 age-group and finished in 13:20
There were five finishers in the 60-64 age-group and Daniel Chelet won the category with a sizzling 10:47
Mink Zeilstra won the 65-69 age-group in 12:11.
Ironman Brasil– There were five finishers in the 60-64 category.
You don’t think these guys are competitve? Mel Sastre and Juan Arrasate had finish time of 10:40 and 10:50 respectively and the top four all finished in under 12 hours.
Coeur d’Alene– There were nine finishers over 60 years old. Dexter Yeats was in the 65-69 category and crossed the line in 16:32.
There were two finishers in the 70-74 age-group for the men. Ray Eastwood was first across the line in 14:44.
John Laramie represented the 75-79 age-group and crossed the finish line in 15:19.
Ironman Austria age-group results 2012-
There were twenty-two finishers in the male 60-64 age-group.
In the female 65-69 age-group Valerie Gonzales finished with a time of 15:42:27.
There were nine finishers in the male 65-69 age group. Drago Krofl and Iorwerth Jones both came in under the 13-hour mark.
Peter Kreuzer and Juergen Scott represented the male 70-74 age-group and finished with times of 14:28:17 and 16:44:06 respectively.(In a “no-wetsuit swim” and temperatures reaching as high as 34 degrees Celsius).
These are all truly remarkable performances by amazing senior triathletes from around the world.
The last Sunday in August, 2012 when Ironman Canada takes place, Sister Madonna Buder will take another shot at crossing the Ironman finish line in the 80-84 category. That would make her the first woman in Ironman history to accomplish that feat.
Sister Maddona reached the finish line in the recent Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. How amazing was it that she finished that race?
The winds blowing off the ocean on the way up the hill to Hawi were pushing Lance Armstrong over to the shoulder of the road. He is the most accomplished cyclist on the planet and it was all he could do to maintain a straight line.
So how on earth did Sister Madonna manage it? It was an amazing accomplishment regardless of what happens in Penticton 2012.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO TODAY’S IRONMAN TRIATHLETE
The other day I was asked this question by a forty-something triathlete who had just done his first Ironman.
“When do you think it’s okay to start training for my next Ironman because I really want to do another one and how many do you think I can do in one year?”
There are people out there who do four or five Ironman races in a year. There are those who are not even forty years old yet who have done 25 or 30 Ironman races.
It’s becoming more obvious all the time that an Ironman career can last well into the senior years, so perhaps the question should be “how many years do I want to do the Ironman and not how many in one year?”
It’s very easy to get swept up in the Ironman and it’s very easy for it to become a way of life. It’s also very easy to race and train yourself into a burnt-out or injured state that can cut your career short.
You can do your first Ironman Triathlon when you’re a 40-year-old and still have a career that could last another quarter of a century if you play your cards right and temper your enthusiasm and think “how long” and not “how many.”
The senior Ironman Triathlon Warriors of today prove that it’s possible.