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Meet Harriott Anderson, Ironman Champion – Age 74!

by inspire on May 13, 2010

Ok so you think you’re old and have given up on some of your dreams! Well when I read about this amazing 74 year old lady, Harriott Anderson from a friend of mine Jenny Brice I felt a new surge of energy for all that is possible in this life!

In summary Harriott has completed 18 Ironman Triathlons (consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bike and a marathon (26 miles 385 yards, 42.195 km) run). She’s currently training for the next Ironman in Kona, Hawaii in October 2010! What an inspiration!

Below is an interview with Hariott and part of a blog article about her written by Kathleen Jensen

Be Inspired by this amazing IronLady!!!

The following excerpt is written by Kathleen Jensen and was originally published on

When Harriet Anderson crossed the finish line at Kona — the Ford Ironman World Championship — in October 2009, there were a few reasons she stood out. At 74 years of age, she was the oldest female competitor to complete the race. At 11:53 p.m. she finished, just seven minutes before the cutoff. And the reason she’d taken longer than usual? The arm taped to her side was a clue. She’d broken her clavicle at mile 80 of the bike ride when another cyclist bumped into her. Did that deter Harriet? No. She picked herself up, finished the next 32 miles on the bike, and promptly walked the entire 26.2 miles of the marathon.

Meet Harriet, the Women’s 70-74 Ironman World Champion.


What makes a person push and endure beyond barriers? There’s not one noticeable moment in her history that would make someone think that Harriet was destined to be an Ironman champion in her 70’s, and that’s the beauty of her story. Harriet grew up in Los Gatos and spent the summers with her sister on the beach in Santa Cruz. In college she spent a summer in Yosemite hiking long distances without stopping. “The guys I was hiking with were impressed that I just kept going,” says Harriet. “I guess I was just born with the endurance gene.” She married Gary 50 years ago—they celebrated their golden anniversary this month—and raised two kids.

As a school nurse Harriet understood the value of good health. When their kids left home, a friend encouraged Harriet and Gary to join an exercise class at Canada College. “We met three times a week and focused on strength training and running,” explains Harriet. Then someone suggested a 10k race. Which she did. And then a half marathon. She did that too. In 1986 she decided to tackle the Honolulu Marathon.


This path of racing one distance and then doing longer races is familiar to most athletes who get hooked on racing. Triathlon caught Harriet’s eye, but she wasn’t a strong swimmer. So she joined a master’s swim club at the community center and then tried her hand at a couple of sprint distance (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) triathlons. That went well and she had fun, so when some friends planned to do the Wildflower Long Course distance race (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in May 1989, she signed up too.

Wildflower is well-known as a fun race with a super challenging half Ironman course, not generally forgiving for first timers. And yet 53-year-old Harriet won …

Click here to Read on


Sean M Kelly

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