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My friend Joanne Edgar is a 2009 Trek Women’s Triathlete!

She’s in our FIFTY IS THE NEW FIFTY video in her Nia class and “Nia — Why I Keep Coming Back for More…” Now, she is going for it all!

By Joanne Edgar, #1312

What does it mean to feel good about your body? To me, at age 65, it means feeling strong and healthy and optimistic, knowing I can meet the challenges I set for myself.

On September 13, 2009, I completed the Trek Women’s Triathlon on Long Island, in New York. The spokesperson for this race is Sally Edwards, a 62-year-old, world-class triathlon legend with a passion for women’s fitness. Sally believes an active lifestyle can help women of any size and any age achieve their goals. This year, she teamed up with a woman-owned firm called Xxtra Mile and the Trek bicycle company to bring triathlons to eight communities across the country. This is a race for elite athletes—and it’s also for the rest of us. Sally’s goal is that every woman will cross the finish line, and she walks her talk. She volunteers to finish last, so that no one else has to.

The Trek women’s triathlon is a “sprint” race—this means short, which to me translates to feasible. Our race was a quarter-mile swim in a pool (triathlons usually include open-water swims), a 9-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run. This is doable for almost anyone who puts her mind, body and spirit to it—and agrees to train.

Our training group of about 20 women met twice a week in New York City. Our coaches were from Heart Zones, USA Sally Edwards’ company. We learned to use heart rate monitors that guided our workouts, individually, at our own pace. Coaches Marty and Jody gave us weekly workout schedules. They gave us skills, feedback and support every step of the way, literally.

We built up stamina and strength over the summer. Even the self-doubters began to believe it was possible to complete this race.

When the day came, I finished second in my age group—out of three participating “triathletes” between 65 and 69 years old. But to me, as trite as it may seem, where you finish isn’t the point. What matters is doing the race: the training and the coaches, the community of women athletes, the support during the race from Sally Edwards as well as the volunteers and observers along the route who cheered us on.

Our NYC training group included a woman whose entry into this triathlon threw conventional wisdom on its head. Jennifer is large. She wanted to get in shape. She did not have a bicycle. She did not run. She had painful knees. Swimming was the only one of the three triathlon sports she felt comfortable with. But the fitness director at her gym thought she had it in her to do a triathlon. She met Sally Edwards, who thought she could do it and recommended training. Our coaches believed in her.

In the end, Jennifer was our inspiration. She was the one who taught the rest of us to do flip-turns in the pool. Her smile grew bigger throughout the summer as our training intensified.

On race day, she swam with the best, pedaled with the Trek bicycle rep, and walked the 3.1-mile run. Our whole training team went out to join her for the last part of the race and to celebrate as she crossed the finish line. There was not a dry eye in sight.

Triathlons are generally considered an elite, expensive sport. But they needn’t be. It does not require a $5,000 bicycle or $200 running shoes. Some of us rode borrowed bikes and ran in ordinary sneakers.

What this race does require is a will to train, a will to be healthy, strong and fit, a will to feel good about your body, to sense your own beauty from the inside out.

How can you say no to that…at any age?

Joanne Edgar is a communications consultant and writer – stories for social change and strategic consulting.

For information about Sally Edwards, Heart Zones USA, Trek Women’s Triathlon Series, and Xxtra Mile events, please visit:

Photo Credits: Stacy Chapman Hollander and Marty Munson

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  • Mimi Munson Kolb said:

    Friends have asked me about the race — and this says it all. Thanks! I’ll pass it on. It was an amazing day, wasn’t it? We all accomplished so much and took away more than a medal. So great to meet you. And congrats on being second in your age group!!
    Very Best,

  • Karin Lippert said:

    Joanne is the New “65!” We are so proud!

  • Karin Lippert said:

    Hi – Joanne “Sixty-five is the New 65″ is in Namibia for an Earthwatch Project – we want to get a report from her when returns.

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