28/08/2012 by Ironman Coach
the 30th and final Ironman Canada race to have a new world record set
by the one and only Sister Madonna Buder aka the “Iron Nun”. A great inspiration to those young and old…
At the age of 82 she sets a new world record on the women’s side. She
might even be the world recorder holder for the oldest person in
general to finish the grueling 140.6 mile race as it seems Lew Hollander
has the oldest man to finish and Ironman at 81.
second Swim (2.4 miles), a 7 hour – 54 minutes and 15 second Bike (112
miles) which converts to roughly an average speed of 13.10 mph on the
hilly bike course. She ends her night with a 6 hour – 41 minutes and 21
second Run (26.2 miles) for and overall time of 16:32:00.
nun from Spokane, Washington. She started running at the age of 48 and
competed in her first Ironman when she was 55. She has completed over
330 triathlons including countless Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events
(30+). In 2005 at the Ironman World Championship race at age 75, she
became the oldest woman ever to complete the race, finishing 1 hour
before the 17-hour midnight cut-off time. In 2006 in Kona at age 76, she
again became the oldest woman ever to complete the race, this time
barely finishing under the 17 hour mark with a time 16:59:03.
in Penticton, British Columbia. All day and at the end spectators
cheered and encouraged her but this time she was unable to finish the
race under the 17 hour cut-off, finishing in a time of 17:02:47.
painful but triggers that knee jerk reaction to try again and conquer
the course another day. Fast forward a year… On August 30, 2009,
Sister Madonna was back in Penticton and this time successfully
completed Ironman Canada in a time of 16:54:30. The accomplishment broke
her own record of being the oldest female to complete in an Ironman
triathlon at the age of 79. At the time, Sister Madonna said that she
would be back next year to be the first 80 year old woman to finish an
self and set a new record but didn’t get to complete her race in
Penticton at Ironman Canada due to some wetsuit issues which might have
contributed to not making the bike cut-off.
their 70’s, but here is a woman that hasn’t slowed down one bit and
shows us that life goes on even when you’re 80. At the 2011 running of
the Boston Marathon, Sister Madonna Buder graced those other athletes
running with her presence and ability. At the age of 80, she set out to
conquer the course and establish a new age group for women.
“I don’t know if there’s been an 80-year-old woman to run Boston.
When I last ran Boston in 2008, there were several men in their 80s, but
The woman who started running late in life and has conquered several
grueling Ironman triathlons in her career finishes her day at the Boston
Marathon in 5:01:05.
Her accomplishments in running and triathlon have inspired many
people who have seen her in person or have read her story to try things
and achieve new heights in doing so. Now she has another way to inspire
others with the new book she published late last year, The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun.
Sister Madonna Buder
is 80 years old, has run more than 340 triathlons, and doesn’t know
what all the fuss is about. In The Grace to Race, she shares the
no-nonsense spirit and deep faith that inspired her extraordinary
journey from a prominent St. Louis family to a Catholic Convent and
finally to championship finish lines all over the world.
As a beautiful young woman, she became an elegant equestrian and
accomplished amateur actress. But as she describes in this intimate
memoir, she had a secret plan as early as 14: she wanted to devote her
life to God. After being courted by the most eligible bachelors in her
hometown, she chose a different path and became a Sister of the Good
She lived a mostly cloistered life as a Nun until her late forties,
when a Priest suggested she take a run on the beach. She dug up a pair
of shorts in a pile of donated clothes, found a pair of second-hand
tennis shoes, and had a second epiphany. This time, she discovered the
spiritual joy of pushing her body to the limit and of seeing God’s
natural world in all its splendor.
More than thirty years later, she is known as the Iron Nun for all
the triathlons she has won. Just five years ago, the age 75-79 category
was created for her at the Hawaiian Ironman in Kona, where she completed
a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon in
record time. Now she has set her sights on a new goal: inaugurating
another new Ironman age group, 80-84, in 2010.
“Sister Madonna proves you can make records, and break them all over again, at any age. Her spirit is without limits.” – Dara Torres, Olympic gold medalist and author of Age Is Just a Number
Sister Madonna holds dozens of records, has broken dozens of bones,
and tells of dozens of miracles and angels that propelled her to a
“It is my faith that has carried me through life’s ups and downs,” she writes. “Whenever
injured, I wait for the Lord to pick me up again and set me on my feet,
confidently reminding Him, ‘God, you know, my intent is to keep running