Sister Madonna Buder is known throughout the triathlon world as the Iron Nun. Why? Because she’s completed more than 40 IRONMAN® distance races including at the World Championships!
Think you’re too old? Watch this video, then read on. You. Will. Be. INSPIRED!
Video shared from USA Triathlon’s YouTube channel. Video dated Oct. 21, 2020
Who is Sister Madonna?
Sister Madonna began running at the age of 48 in 1978. After getting encouragement from friends, she competed in her first triathlon four years later at age 52. By the age of 90 in 2020, she had completed more than 35 marathons and 320 triathlons. That included 45 IRONMAN races and winning her women’s age group at the 2005 and 2006 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
How Does Sister Madonna Destroy Age-based Myths?
She’s still doing triathlons! Sure, Sister Madonna is slower now. Maybe she won’t keep swimming 2.2-miles, biking 112-miles, and running 26.2 miles all in one race. The point is this: She’s been consistently active in a sport she loves for more than 40 years!
I first met Sister Madonna at the meet-and-greet the day before the 2013 Iron Girl® triathlon. She encouraged me to dream big, and to stay disciplined and dedicated in that pursuit. Her kind yet powerful words certainly helped me in my race the next morning. I managed to finish the tough course (I had an embarrassing police and ambulance escort to transition during my bike segment…because I was LAST!).
Now is Time to Start!
So what if you’re “old” already. Where will you be in five years? Who knows, but you’ll be five years older and no memories of what you could have made. Think about that!
Let me be clear: If you don’t start today, you will miss out years of fun, new friendships, increased self-esteem, and potentially improving your health.
Yes, I’m partial to speed walking, riding my bike, and doing triathlons. But I want YOU to choose the sport or fitness activity that calls to you. It could be dance or golf or yoga or hiking.
Get started at your nearby parks and recreation department or senior center (often, they have activities for free!). Just. Go. Do. It.
Be willing to try, to work around current physical issues, to start slow, to be slow.
No matter what your age is, you can start right now to moving towards participating in any athletic activity.
Yes, you can.
Updated and edited Aug. 29, 2023 — the original link to a 2016 Nike commercial featuring Sister Madonna no longer appears on Nike’s channel. The above video is from USA Triathlon’s channel.