When 82-year old Madonna Buder, member of non-canonical Sisters for Christian Community, found her calling in running triathlons, little did everyone know that her frail body contained an iron will that not only got her through the gruelling course of the Canadian Iron Man, but got her numerous records and honours under her belt.
She served as a major catalyst for opening up the category for 80+ in the Canadian Iron Man and currently holds the world record for being the oldest person to run the Iron Man triathlon.
To date, Sister Madonna has competed in 37 marathons and 377 triathlons, including 45 ‘Ironman’ triathlons and attributes her fit physique to functional training and a clean diet.
“I can’t say I have anything special about my diet or training. I take a lot of herbal stuff and make sure I eat well. As for my training, I do what is called functional training, like there has got to be a reason for me to go out and run. So, I run to the mass if the weather and time permits me and I always manage to squeeze in some exercises during the day whether it is swimming, running, or biking.”
“Sometimes because of the weather I am stuck with indoor machines which I absolute deplore, I love the outdoors and sitting on those machines just makes me feel like I am a lab rat or a rodent on a wheel.”
Having grown up with a penchant for equestrian sports and now spends her old age taking care of her bike.
The 87-year old was initially afraid of sparking scandal, as a marathoning nun was still an oddity that the world had yet to get used to.
Even Sister Madonna contemplated the appropriateness of her choice to enter sports, and found solace in her faith that laid all her doubts to rest.
She said: “I had to really fight with myself whether this is really something that was right or not. I ended up going to retreat and I perched myself at a mountaintop, and I talked to god about the situation and the answer was that when someone has a gift and they realize they have it, they are obligated to use that gift for God’s greater honour and glory.”
Her little epiphany has given her the strength and courage to continue her journey and with her regular appearances in each event she was no longer the oddball that everyone had thought her to be at first.
Following the Canadian Iron Man She was lovingly dubbed as the ‘Iron Nun’, even though Sister Madonna described the nickname as a ‘crazy joke’, but the moniker has stuck with her since it was coined and has to lead to some amusing encounters for her.
“I would often go through the metal detectors at the airport and the security would often jokingly ask if I have any metal on me or not, and I would just tell them my whole body is full of scrap metal,” she recounted with a chuckle.
Sister Madonna also runs from her church to the local jail, a practise she started in 1982 and continues depending on how favourable the weather is.
At the end of each run, she visits and interacts with the inmates and described her time there as a truly ‘humbling experience’.
“I have met many people and I remember talking to a man who thought he didn’t belong there and perhaps he didn’t, but once I left I felt really humbled, because I thought to myself that if it was god’s will I could have been in that prison. I mean, I am not a perfect person and you never know what can happen. But whenever I am there I just feel comfortable and I really like it when the inmates share their stories with me,” she said.
Her autobiography titled ‘The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun’ was published in 2010 through which she aims to motivate others to achieve their goals in life.
Sister Madonna Buder is all set to bring her message of positivity to the UAE at the 4th International Conference for Women in Sports (ICSW) in Abu Dhabi on November 6 and 7.
Dubai Ladies Club has launched a free three-week training camp for women participating in the upcoming Dubai Women’s Triathlon.
The training camp is designed to help participants gain the skills, technique and confidence to compete as well-rounded triathletes.
The first event of its kind for women in the region, the Dubai Women’s Triathlon will be hosted at Dubai Ladies Club and organised by Women’s Sports Committee of Dubai Sports Council.
The event, to be held on Friday, November 3, 2017, will feature a combination of three disciplines – swimming, running, and cycling – over a distance of 40km.
Contributing to the goals of 2017 – the Year of Giving, all revenue from the Dubai Women’s Triathlon will be donated to Al Jalila Foundation’s iMcan programme to help provide disabled women with prosthetic limbs that will enable them to regain normal movement and pursue a more active lifestyle including sports and fitness activities.
The launch of the training programme is part of the Club’s strategic partnership with Dubai Women’s Triathlon, and its commitment to deliver world class sports and fitness events that inspire women to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Held in collaboration with GroWings Coaching and Ana Gow Running Club, the Dubai Ladies Club Triathlon Camp will offer participants a comprehensive training plan that includes swimming, running and cycling in a safe, encouraging and fun environment.
The camp, which started on October 10, 2017, will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays from 17:00 — 18:00. The programme, open to women of all ages and fitness abilities, from absolute beginners to experienced triathletes, is designed to boost confidence and fitness, and improve skill and technique.
Founded on the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Ladies Club and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE; Dubai Ladies Club is committed to enhancing the life of women through health and wellbeing initiatives that encourage personal development and enrichment in a safe and private ladies-only environment.
Similarly, partnering with Dubai Women’s Triathlon reflects the Club’s agenda to consistently find new opportunities for women to include sports and physical activity in their lives within the exclusive and private setting of Dubai Ladies Club.
The Dubai Women’s Triathlon will include a special category for the exclusive participation of Emirati nationals, who can also enjoy the comfort of private and secure indoor and outdoor facilities that can only be offered by Dubai Ladies Club, while their train for the upcoming event.
Registration for Dubai Women’s Triathlon will be open until October 30, 2017.
As part of the Club’s strategic partnership with Dubai Women’s Triathlon, a special triathlon village will be set up in Dubai Ladies Club, for family members to converge and support the triathletes, while enjoying a variety of fun attractions such as an allocated children’s area, physical fitness classes and much more.
Additionally, the village will also include a special allocated area for health, sports and well-being companies to display state-of-the-art health products, physical fitness equipment, and healthy nutrition for adults and juniors.
Al Asalla Spa will also offer a welcoming relaxation area which will include a selection of rejuvenating express massages and treatments.
On the day, guests will also have the unique opportunity to avail special offers and discounts on Dubai Ladies Club services and membership packages.
Car parks will be available for both the participants and the crowd.
Women of all nationalities aged 16 and above can register in the triathlon, which is divided into three categories: Super Sprint race, where female competitors compete in swimming for 400m, cycling for 10km in cycling and running for 2.5km; the Sprint race, where competitors compete in swimming for 750m, cycling for 20km and running for 5km; and the Short race, where they compete in swimming for 1.5 km, cycling for 30 km and running for 10 km for running.
The swimming competition starts at Dubai Ladies Club where participants will swim in the club’s seawater compete in a private environment that is not accessible to men.
Then, they will move to the cycling race that starts in front of the club on Jumeirah Street between the Union House Museum and Al Thanya Street and ends by returning to the Club once again.
After that, they move to the running race alongside the Dubai Water Canal and finishes in the Triathlon Village to be established within Dubai Ladies Club.
Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee confirmed on Saturday he will be sidelined for the rest of the year after hip surgery.
Brownlee, who has moved up from triathlon to tackle the Ironman 70.3 series this year, had been left with no choice but to have the procedure after battling with the injury for several years.
Posting on Instagram alongside a picture of himself in the Yorkshire Dales, Brownlee said: “After years of struggling with a chronic hip problem, I go under the knife. It has been a tough decision but suffering from an acute flare I am left with little option.
“Unfortunately it will take me away from competing for the rest of the year but I hope it will enable me to continue doing what I love for many years to come. In the meantime I’ll get to enjoy a bit of Yorkshire relaxation which is a rare treat.”
Brownlee returned to triathlon in June to win the World Series event in Leeds and had earned a place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship after winning on his debut in Utah in May.
The 29-year-old was a gold medallist at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics Brownlee and brother Jonny were also set to compete in the Super League Triathlon in Jersey in September.
Tomorrow is a big day. After years of struggling with a chronic hip problem, I go under the knife. It has been a tough decision but suffering from an acute flare I am left with little option. Unfortunately it will take me away from competing for the rest of the year but I hope it will enable me to continue doing what I love for many years to come. In the mean time I'll get to enjoy a bit of Yorkshire relaxation which is a rare treat.