Many people think triathlon has passed them by because they would be an older triathlete and perhaps wouldn’t fit in.

I really think that if it’s in your heart to take on the challenge of triathlon, then age is not a factor.


It’s probably time we started to re-think what old age is.

I believe the past norm of retiring at 55 or 60 or 65 and slowing our lives to a crawl until we die is becoming a thing of the past.

older triathlete

So just when are you too old for fitness?

Often I hear of people who work hard all their lives, retire, and within a few years their health starts going downhill.

It seems unfair that this happens just when they leave behind the mental and physical alertness necessary to survive during their working years. However, what if it’s the slowdown that’s actually the cause of the onset of poor health and lethargy?

I think that’s a good argument for being an older triathlete.

I think of it as the hunter-gatherer syndrome. When Grog the caveman headed out every morning to kill something for food or search the countryside for roots and berries he was at his prime.

He was in great shape from all that walking, running, fighting and climbing. He demanded physical and mental fitness from his body to keep up with his way of life. When the day came that he reached the ripe old age of 20 something he most likely retired and left the food hunting to the younger caveman.

All Grog had to do was sit around the fire, eat the food that someone else provided for him and did little else. His body responded. He grew fat, content, and lazy.

One day when he wandered too far from camp and a mastodon much like the ones he used to kill for food trampled Grog because he was too slow and out of shape to get away.

The moral of the story is, just because we reach some magical preset age is it in our best interests to shut everything down? Is it good for us to lose our physical and mental sharpness? I think not. Our bodies will gladly oblige. If we demand little of it, than that’s exactly what we’ll get.


Our body will begin to shut down because it’ll sense that our needs have changed and that it’s no longer necessary to run at peak efficiency.

So why not be an older triathlete of or an athlete of any kind for that matter and maintain a healthy lifestyle well into your senior years?

How about Al Gordon?

In 1931 he took over an underwriting company called Kidder, Peabody and Co. He went on to spend 8 decades as an investor and executive.

older triathlete

Staying fit and having fun is not just for the 30 somethings.

Oh, and also, he was a marathoner into his 80’s. By the way at the time of the writing of this article he was 105 YEARS OLD!

Then there’s Waldo down there in Quinter, Kansas. Waldo BEGAN long distance running at the age of 65. At age 75 he decided to start running competitively. At age 80 he set a Kansas state record for the ten-mile run for his age group.

He went on to set records in running, long jump, discus and shot-put into his 90’s and 100’s at the Senior Olympics.

At the time of this writing Waldo was still working and had just been named Americas oldest worker. He was a beekeeper and he was 104 years old. WOW! I wonder what would have happened if he had retired at 65 and did nothing? Maybe it’s time to re-think how to approach our senior years.

If you are nearing retirement perhaps and are a bit concerned about what you will do with all that spare time? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Why not get yourself a bike, some spiffy running shoes and an annual swim pass and become an older triathlete? Don’t stop there? Become an Ironman!

Start out slow. So what if it takes you 3 or 4 years to get to your first race? It took Waldo 10 years and then he was just getting started!

older triathlete

There is a finish line for everyone

So many triathletes would love to have all the time they wanted to train without having to worry about work. That’s a big advantage for an older triathlete who has perhaps retired and has all the time in the world to train.

Just use common sense, check with your doctor and away you go. Your body will will keep sharp for you if you continue to challenge it. You’ll just love your retirement and will always have something to do.

For sure someone will ask you if retirement is boring you. Well, here’s how you answer.

“Nope. Big race coming up. Gotta train!”

If you are between 20 and 40 perhaps you know someone who is bored and retired or soon to be retired. It might be a parent or favorite aunt or uncle.

Mail them this page and you might just be doing them a great service. Maybe you can convince them to be one of a growing number of older triathletes who are choosing to stay fit in their senior year.

Besides, wouldn’t it be something if you stood together at the start of a triathlon one day down the road?

I was in one Ironman race where there were three generations of the same family in the race. Daughter, mother, grandfather. How cool is that?

Just have a look at how well the senior triathletes did in Ironman Hawaii 2013.


Visit Ironman.com and check out upcoming races.

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