The Under Appreciated Athlete

At the Y today I met a fellow from Michigan. He and his wife are retired schoolteachers. They moved to Elizabeth City, NC to be closer to their daughter who teaches in Chesapeake, VA. The fellow was preparing to swim, as was I, when I noticed he was wearing a one-piece triathlon suit.

Me running in a one-piece triathlon suit. They’re designed to be used in the swim, bike and run without needing to change apparel.

These  suits are one-piece sports apparel that look a bit like the old swim suits of the late 1800’s. They are sleeveless tops connected to the short bottoms that zip up the front. When I noticed what he, Randy, was wearing  I asked if he was a triathlete. He said yes even though be was built more like a wrestler. In fact, I learned he had been a wrestler when he was in school. As a teacher, he taught math and physical education (two of my favorite subjects).

This guy wearing a 1800’s version of a tri-suit

I further learned Randy, is 65. I have another friend, Paul, who is 76 and  training for an Ironman.

What I’m getting at is this, there are a lot of senior athletes training and competing at a high level.  A friend of mine, Bruce Buchanan has seven Ironman World Championship age group wins. But, he’s not famous like the pros that have won 6 times or even twice. Heck, even his finishing times weren’t much off the top pro times – and he’s beaten more than one pro. Unlike the pros he’s beaten he was a full time periodontist (now retired).


Randy and Paul may never win an Ironman World Championship.  But, they’re out there putting it on the line.  A number of bonuses come from being active in sports: feeling better, looking better, sleeping better, becoming healthier, and improved cognitive function to name a few. Enjoying sports and working out is not just for kids and young people.  Randy, Paul, Bruce and only examples of a significant population of folks over 50 that are finding ways to stay active and become involved. I certainly appreciate their efforts.