By in Sports

Triathlons Are Not Just For Young People

When we hear the word triathlon we think of ultra fit young athletes, powering their way through lengthy events. But triathlons, like all sports, can cater for all ages and abilities. Here in New Zealand triathlons for women are extremely popular, with the emphasis on participation rather than elite sportsmanship.

I participated in my first triathlon as the swim member of a team at the age of 54. The photo here shows me, the one in the black and pink wet suit, approaching the end of the swim leg. That swim was from one wharf to another, about 1 km from memory. Swimming in the sea is quite different from swimming in a pool, where I'm more at home.

After two team events that had sea swims I started participating as an individual. I've done quite a few tris since then, all with a pool swim. The tri usually consists of a 400m swim, a 10 km bike ride and a 3 km run or walk. I usually did a mix of running and walking in that last leg. I haven't done one for about three years, so forget what the time factor was, but seem to remember it wasn't too much more than an hour.

These events do take a lot of training leading up to them, but are a wonderful way of keeping fit and healthy. They're also a lot of fun. Although everyone competes as a mixed group, there are age group placings and usually lots of spot prizes as well.

I've used the excuse of being too busy to train in recent years, but now I'm wondering if maybe next summer I'll make an effort to participate once again.

Image Credit » Personal photo of Val Mills

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


FernandoSHA wrote on February 23, 2015, 6:25 PM

When I started doing my dawn walks at the ovals more than 2 years ago, there was this 70 year-old lady who would be doing several rounds jogging. Later, she joined a half marathon but the organizers refused to let her in because of her age but she insisted. The compromise was to have an ambulance follow her and they really did send the ambulance. Some time later, she joined a 110-kilometer relay run and she was able to finish it. I've not seen her lately and the gatekeeper at the ovals told us that lady is busy training for a triathlon - would you believe that?

valmnz wrote on February 23, 2015, 6:32 PM

Yes, I do believe it. Older people are quite active participants in sporting events here.

maxeen wrote on February 23, 2015, 6:49 PM

Some elder ones are much fitter that young ones these days.

FernandoSHA wrote on February 23, 2015, 6:51 PM

Yes, my friend, and probably it's because of the discipline and the food one eats.

GemstonePink wrote on February 23, 2015, 6:51 PM

Oh, I think you should start training again! My husband is 66 and still trains and runs marathons His last marathon was on the runways of O'Hare Airport in Chicago for the Wounded Warrior Project.

valmnz wrote on February 23, 2015, 6:53 PM

I agree. I'm already walking and biking and the swimming part is always the easiest for me.

AliCanary wrote on February 23, 2015, 7:10 PM

Wow, I'm really impressed with you! I love to swim, but I am very slow at it. I bike okay, but I can't run at all. I might be able to do a two-thirds triathlon, if they gave me a couple of days to finish :)

valmnz wrote on February 23, 2015, 7:12 PM

Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Tris and half matathons are quite popular with older people here. They weren't around when we were young.

BrenndaMarie wrote on February 23, 2015, 7:57 PM

Staying active is important at any age. God bless the older people I see out there running everyday. I am half some of their ages and I do not think, I could do what they do.

valmnz wrote on February 23, 2015, 8:39 PM

Start by walking around the block. It really doesn't take long if you know what you're aiming for. I had nearly twenty years off swimming before I started again.

melon1234 wrote on February 23, 2015, 10:05 PM

I've never done one of those, I doubt I will ever be able to if I'm being honest but very well done to you on doing so! Must have been a huge achievement

valmnz wrote on February 23, 2015, 11:15 PM

I thrive on challenges and now, I consider them rather easy emoticon :smile: it's just a case of keeping fit in all the disciplines.

cheri wrote on February 23, 2015, 11:30 PM

I have not tried doing that kind of activity because I am not a huge fan. I admire those people especially those who are not that young anymore who participate in this kind of activities.

valmnz wrote on February 25, 2015, 1:32 AM

I'm a swimmer from my young years, so the swimming leg was easy!