CORNWALL, N.Y. -- Star Walters didn't start running until she was 31. Now, the 65-year-old is a USA Triathlon Coach who has competed in more than 100 races, continually placing first in her age group.
The Cornwall resident started competing in 2000 with a local sprint but it wasn't until July 2016 that she considered doing an Ironman. She did her first one at Lake Placid and ended up qualifying for the World Championship in Kona Hawaii, which she did in October of that same year.
She'll do her third Ironman in Lake Placid in July 2018.
It's a life she would never have imagined years earlier, especially because she was a sickly child who couldn't really exercise.
"Back then the only sports girls were allowed to participate in were cheerleading and track but I was never picked for the track team because I wasn't fast enough," she said.
A healthy person (she's been a vegetarian since age 14) who works in sales at Sportsplex health club in New Windsor, she was encouraged by friends to try a local 5K. That sense of accomplishment, coupled with the people she met there, made her want to do it again.
Which led to running, bike riding and swimming.
"I was a single mom raising my son so I could not afford much but I saved and got my first Trek bike for $500," she said.
Now, she has more than 100 races behind her.
Her workout routine includes a mix of long distance runs and bricks (where she does two disciplines in one workout, i.e. swim a mile and bike for an hour, then run eight miles).
Her advice for those just starting out? Hire a coach if you can afford it. She has been a USAT Coach for 15 years (working by referrals) and said coaches help provide a specific workout geared towards your race and your athleticism both physically and mentally.
If that's not possible, there are some generic plans online that work. "Join a local running and or biking club, as you will get help from others for little to no cost," she said.
She also advises training with a friend.
Just as important: good nutrition. It is, said Walters, the key to successful training.
Above all, keep your priorities straight. "Family first," she stresses.
As a proud grandmother, she couldn't help but add how her grandsons have done the Ironkids race two years in a row. Said Walters: "I love being a good example for them."
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