Sister Madonna Buder (aka “The Iron Nun”) is an incredible, age-defying example of what can be achieved with perseverance and passion. Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1930, Sister Madonna grew up with a love for sports. However, it wasn’t until later in life that she discovered her passion for running and triathlons.
At the age of 48, after hearing a priest talk about the benefits of exercise, Sister Madonna began running. She quickly fell in love with the sport and started participating in local races. However, it wasn’t until her early 50s that she discovered her true passion – triathlons.
In 1982, at the age of 52, Sister Madonna participated in her first triathlon. It consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. She finished the race in 11 hours and 54 minutes, an impressive feat for someone who had only been competing in races for a few years.
Sister Madonna’s love for triathlons only continued to grow. She went on to complete her first Ironman triathlon in 1985, at the age of 55. From there, she continued to compete in Ironman races all over the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe.
In 2006, at the age of 76, Sister Madonna made history when she became the oldest person to ever finish an Ironman triathlon. She completed the race in 16 hours and 32 minutes, proving that age is just a number when it comes to achieving your goals.
But Sister Madonna didn’t stop there. In 2012, at the age of 82, she made history again when she became the oldest person to ever finish the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. She completed the race in 16 hours and 59 minutes, a remarkable feat for someone in their 80s.
Sister Madonna’s incredible achievements have earned her numerous awards and accolades, including induction into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. She has become an inspiration to people all over the world, proving that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
In an interview, Sister Madonna shared her philosophy on life: “The only failure is not to try. You may not achieve your goals right away, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.”
Sister Madonna continues to compete in races today, at the age of 92. Her dedication and passion for triathlons are a true inspiration to people of all ages. She proves that age is just a number and that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.