Lynda Lemon has medalled in her age group every year for the last five years at the world duathlon championships. She feels lucky to have discovered multisport the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At age 47, Lemon did her first few triathlons in the summer and then had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation beginning that fall. “Training definitely helped keep me strong through it all,” the 70-year-old Welland, Ont. resident says.
The Canadian Cancer Society estimates 88 per cent of new cancer cases last year were among Canadians over 50, and 43 per cent were among those over 70. But for older triathletes diagnosed with cancer, there’s some consolation.
Victoria’s Evan Fagan had prostate cancer in 2011 and took a year off competing but not training. “I did a swim, ride or run every day before my radiation because it helped with the treatment, which really knocks your socks off.”
Fagan, 77, advises others to do the same if they can. “It doesn’t matter how slow or how far you go. Just get your heart rate up for a bit. Triathlon training can be a big help in sustaining you physically and emotionally through cancer.”
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Evan Fagan races the Lavaman Keauhou in 2013