BY KEVIN MACKINNON
We preview who to watch at the Ironman World Championship in October, trace the qualifying history of the race and explain why it’s harder the ever to get to Kona these days.
For this I spoke with Milos Kostic, who is probably Canada’s most successful over-50 triathlete. Now 74 years old, Kostic has won his age group at Kona every year for the past nine years and can still run a 3:22 marathon. Kostic trains 15 to 25 hours per week, so if hard work could stall the aging process, we should see it with him. Comparing his running times from age 50 to now, Kostic’s speed has decreased about 22 per cent for a 5 km race, 15 per cent over a 10 km race and only 11 per cent for a full marathon. Of course this is only one athlete, but similar results can be expected for most people. The smaller decrease for the longer races is to be expected as age-related sarcopenia has a greater effect on fast twitch muscles than slow twitch.
But with age comes some good news. Kostic finds that with the racing experience he has accumulated he has better concentration and can better estimate the pace he can maintain throughout a race. He has also acquired the discipline to train smarter and thus been able to remain injury free for several years. Mobility exercises, running drills and strength training have all been added to his training regime to help him remain injury free.