The Over-50 Resource
Ahead of the Pack

This boomer proves that we can start exercising at any age.

by Lynn G. Coleman

“If exercise were a pill, it would be the most widely
prescribed medicine in the world,” said Covert
Bailey, fitness guru and author of
Fit or Fat for the
. Unfortunately, it’s a hard pill for many of us to
swallow. But the benefits to health and youthfulness
are undeniable. Just look at Terry Grapentine, a
60-year-old marketing researcher in Iowa who
might just be the poster boy for boomer fitness.

Although not exactly a couch potato, Terry didn’t start running until he was almost 50,
when he trained for his first marathon at the urging of a client. And he hasn’t stopped
since. When running marathons became a bit ho-hum, Terry moved on to triathlons and
eventually to Ironman competitions. The Over-50 Resource recently spoke with Terry
about his remarkable dedication to athleticism and fitness.

Q: Were you always athletic?

A: Not really. I played golf from age 10 to 54. I stopped playing golf in order to devote more
time to triathlon.

Q: When did you start running and why?

A: I started in 1999, at age 49. A client of mine at the time talked me into training for the
2000 Chicago Marathon. So I began my training in 1999.

Q: When did you run your first marathon? Which one was it and how did you do?

A: I did the 2000 Chicago Marathon, and finished in 5:12. Compare that to the San Diego
Marathon I did in 2005, with a finish time of 4:17, on a harder course. I recently completed
the St. Louis ½ Marathon in 1:56 (see photo) — my best ever for a ½ marathon.

During my first two years of long-distance running, encompassing the 2000 Chicago and the
2001 Nashville triathlons, I was plagued with injuries, specifically, shin splints, sore hip
flexors and plantar fasciitis. It was because of these injuries that I took up biking to give
my feet and legs one day off from training. So, by 2002, I was engaged in two of the three
triathlon sports.

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