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Try on a Triathlon
by Cynthia BeMent
For most, a triathlon seems a lofty fitness goal. Not true, says the AARP (American Association of Retired People). Its triathlon-training program and event for those over 50, called the Triumph Classic (http://www.aarp.org/triumph), helps thousands complete a “tri.”
“Turning 50 is a big occasion,” says Margaret Hawkins, AARP’s health campaign manager. “People are saying, ‘I’m going to put a stake in the ground and do this, because I still feel active.’”
Patricia Culbert, 60, of Marion, Connecticut, planted her stake in 2001. “Triathlons were the farthest thing from my mind, but I’d promised my niece I’d exercise 15 minutes a day,” she says. Seeking motivation, she found the Triumph Classic and recruited her two sisters; the trio completed the event as a relay team.
Though Triumph honors those over 50, all ages are welcome, Hawkins says. And you don’t have to be an athlete to do a tri, says Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., president of Simply Fit nutrition and exercise consulting in Los Angeles. Start with clearance from your doctor, he says, and remember rest is one of the most important elements in training. “Recovery takes longer as you age. It’s post exercise when you repair and gain fitness.”
For Culbert and her sisters, the rewards live on in others’ reactions. ‘They’re amazed,” she says. “Honestly, so are we.” —Cynthia BeMent