Triathlon Magazine Canada

Motivation, New Experience­s, Friendship and Fun


The notion of being the “youngster” in the next age category is just as compelling at 60 as it is for athletes in their 30s and 40s. The prospect of turning 70 has one triathlete, who has been on the podium at Kona already, thinking about giving it another go. “It’s easier when you’re the young one in the age group,” she says. In spite of having “been there, done that,” she is motivated by the prospect of having her daughter join her this time. Her only hesitation? The timing doesn’t work well with a side trip to Japan to run the Tokyo marathon, the last of the world majors she has yet to run. Not your average Grandmothe­r’s dilemma.

Another triathlete about to age-up has his eyes on setting a new world record and has the patience and discipline to train for it over the next few years. He enjoys the challenge of training with younger triathlete­s, who push him to continue reaching higher. Plus, it’s more fun.

It’s not always about glory, however. Some are happy to continue going at their own pace simply to stay in the game and enjoy the sport that they love for the sake of their longevity and quality of life. “I’ve given up on the idea of speed – it doesn’t mean as much to me anymore. I’m happy to try new experience­s now like trail running, where I can push myself at my own pace,” shares one athlete who ran her first marathon on a challenge, qualified for Boston, so “had” to keep going.

While many seniors enjoying travelling after retirement, most of these triathlete­s were more interested in combining their sport with travel and friends on “tri-cations.” Their motivation to train is partially driven by the prospect of travelling to training camp or a race and having opportunit­ies to meet new people. The positive social “hits” of being with like-minded people in a supportive environmen­t are hard to ignore, which explains the enthusiasm of the volunteers and spectators, as well as the competitor­s in older age groups.

“This doesn’t pay me at the end of the month, so I can enjoy the training, travelling and racing. I’m not sure the pros have so much fun – they need to perform,” observes a late-starter who is in full swing in her late 60s and making the most of her experience­s.

The difference­s between the decades are overwhelmi­ngly outweighed by the similariti­es, which should put any triathlete approachin­g the 50-year mark at ease. Having an enhanced purpose in life, challengin­g yourself to stay fit and healthy, meeting new people and staying socially engaged, while seeing the world with friends. It doesn’t get much better than that, at any age!

Sandie Orlando is a frequent contributo­r to Triathlon Magazine Canada, an age-group triathlete, coach, writer and marketing/communicat­ions manager for CL Performanc­e Training.

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