By Dennis Green
Of the age results, that is.
At age 82, Lyle Roberts of Burlington, Iowa, is the oldest athlete to regularly compete on the Heart of America circuit. I caught up with Lyle recently during some uncharacteristic downtime, while he was volunteering at the Lake Geode Challenge, hosted by his home town club, Team B.E.A.S.T.
Lyle has been racing triathlons since 1981, a mere four years after the first Ironman event was held. He has no idea how many races he has done.
“Hundreds,” he says with a shrug. “Because I used to race a lot. But now that I’m a senior citizen, I don’t race near as much as I used to.”
Lyle raced his first Ironman in 1992 (at age 61, to save you the math), and has since completed fourteen Ironman World Championships, along with many appearances at Lake Placid. He’s raced in Canada as well. He’s been invited to Nationals again this year, but hasn’t decided yet if he will enter.
Ask Lyle about his training, and he’ll tell you he has slowed down a lot in recent years. Then he’ll describe a regular regimen that would exhaust many athletes a quarter of his age.
“I try to do two disciplines when I’m training for an Ironman (per) day, maybe rest one day a week. Swim-bike, or swim-run. Then on the weekends I’ll try to do a century ride, and run at least fifteen on Sundays.”
Lyle has seen hundreds of athletes come and go. Not surprisingly, he has some smart advice for the new triathlete.
“Just have fun, and don’t worry about your time and stuff. Just enjoy the thing. Just get in and relax, especially if it’s your first race. Just have fun.”
Take Lyle’s advice and maybe someday you’ll find yourself picking up your award last as well.