Ironman – 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride, 42.2 run
In 2012, a good friend of mine, “Crouchy” convinced me that it would be good idea if I were to enter the Port Macquarie 2013 Australian Ironman race with him and a couple of other friends. Crouchy made it sound so appealing that I decided it would be a good idea and lots of “fun”. So I entered.
I am not sure about the fun part but I was immensely proud of myself when I finished and was still able to walk (albeit not very well) the next day.
It was a day full of highlights and memories but there are two which do stand out for me:
The first is the comradery of the competitors throughout the day – although I do believe there were a couple of punch-ups in the water, which is understandable if you have ever witnessed an Ironman swim. However, during the bike and run legs, competitors talk and encourage each other continually. For most of us, it is truly just about finishing and seeing other competitors finish.
The second was meeting a gentleman who was competing in the 70 – 74 age group. I am not sure of his name but I will call him “George” for the purpose of this article. George had won his age group for the second or third year in a row and was off again to compete in the ultimate Ironman race in Kona on the big island of Hawaii, the World Championship. This is the race that you may have watched on television, and thought “how cool would it be to be able to participate in this”?!
My partner Donna met George the day after the race. We had picked up my bike from the storage yard and she was minding my bike while I had gone to buy the mandatory race memorabilia. George very quickly worked out that the bike Donna was holding was not hers – Donna is 157 cm and I am 190 cm.
After I had completed my purchases, Donna introduced me to George. While we were talking about the race and how we went and the excuses as to why we didn’t go faster, I learnt that George only started to compete in triathlons after he retired.
At the age of 65, George realised that after working all his life he had nothing to do and was looking for something, so he bought a bike and started to ride. That was the start of his Ironman journey.
I am not saying that everyone at the age of 65 should start training for an Ironman, but I believe “it is definitely never too late” to try something new.
Remember – you always need to stimulate your mind and your body, regardless of your age.
*If you decide that at the age of 65 you want to train for an Ironman race or other endurance event, please get a complete medical checkup before you start to train and remember, you will have your limits. Most of us are not professional athletes.10