My Friends! We don't celebrate each other enough! This incredible story is brought to you with the help of my friends at H20 Fitness Collaborative in beautiful Scarborough, Maine! This is the fifth post of an ongoing series where we will be celebrating all you bad-ass women who, at age 50+, decided you were just getting started! Enjoy! -Carla
Beth comes to us from the great state of Maine, USA! She is 81 years old and is quick to say that she “doesn’t identify with that”. After rehabilitation from alcoholism, she ran her first marathon at age 44, became a triathlete at age 49, and has done countless marathons, Sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons (legend has it that it’s over 100!), 6 half Ironmen and she is still competing today! If you want to be truly inspired, keep reading.. this story is amazing!
Growing up, Beth describes herself as a “Tom Boy”. She built forts, climbed trees, rode horses, played hockey and basketball, and rode her bike everywhere. At age 18, she put that all behind her and became a “rebel” during the women’s revolution of the early 1960s.
Beth endured a struggle with alcoholism and began rehabilitation in 1984. During her hospitalization, she and another woman started running around the rehab grounds. Finding this inspiration became her way of celebrating the sobriety that she has achieved since then and the battle she continues to win to this day!
Soon after her rehabilitation, she started running 5K races and meeting other runners who inspired her to train for the New York Marathon. She most enjoyed the camaraderie of working for the same goals as others and having a plan to follow so she could see her progress. She also enjoyed the sometimes long, meditative runs. She credits her husband who was always behind the scenes doing whatever was needed to give her training time, and encouragement. In 1985, just 1 year after her hospitalization for alcoholism, she was ready to run her first marathon!
She describes being “terrified” on the bus to this event, and when the “cannon” went off at the start of the race, she burst into tears of sheer joy, seeing her body become strong and healthy and overcoming something that seemed impossible.
Since then, she has run 16 Marathons, became a triathlete at age 49, when she learned to swim and has also competed in countless Sprint and Olympic Distance triathlons as well as 6 half-Ironmen. She has participated in 6 World Triathlon Championships including her first Worlds in Perth, Australia.
Beth’s advice to other women entering the second half of life is that “you are NEVER too old! You can start with walking. I have trained many women, including women in their 50’s and even 60, to run and do triathlons, you just need to start small and add gradually. But if you don’t want to run or do triathlons, it is never too late to do some basic strength training and walking”.
Today, Beth still finds joy in participating in Triathlons, 5K races, as well as the annual ½ Marathon walk with two cancer survivor friends at Millinocket, Maine. Her mornings are typically fueled by one toasted piece of Dave’s Bread with Teddy’s Super Chunky Peanut Butter and half of a banana, along with fruit juice and a “nice mug of coffee!” She also holds steady to daily vitamins, calcium + D, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Beth is mostly retired from her work as an executive assistant and later personal trainer and marathon/triathlon coach but will be facilitating the LiveSTRONG Program for Cancer Survivors at Casco Bay YMCA at the end of this year. She moved to Maine in 2000 when her husband retired and walks every morning with her dog, Scarlett who she adopted from Maine Sheltie Rescue.
Thank you, Beth, for inspiring us with your amazing story!
Beth wow. This has been a great read for me because I did not know your whole story. Amazing. So glad to know you as a friend, you dear dear person and a shooting star!!!
What an incredible story showing us we can do anything we set our minds to without boundaries.
Beth you are truly inspirational.