Triathlon NSW is very proud to have a membership full of inspirational and diverse people. One such person is Warringah Triathlon Club Life Member Geoff Thorsen, who at almost 80 years of age, is full of passion and hoping to participate at Club Champs at the end of next month.
We had a chat to Geoff to get a better understanding of a man who proves that age is just a number and here’s what he had to say.
TriNSW: Talk us through your background and how you got involved in triathlon.
I started running in 1971 in local fun runs and progressed to interclub athletics (distances from 5km up to the marathon). I was never very competitive with times but managed a 2:28 and a 2.29 for the marathon in the late 70’s.
I completed my first triathlon in 1980. Our running club staged our own triathlons after watching the Hawaii IM on Channel 9. We had our transition in Manly Dam, swam around the dam, rode a couple of laps round Wakehurst parkway, before running to North Head and back to the dam. We then put the results in the Local Manly Daily newspaper as the 3rd annual Harbord Diggers triathlon to upset all the local surf club swimmers who complained bitterly about not being invited. The first open triathlon was in 1982 called the Sydney Triathlon in Narrabeen Lake.
TriNSW: You stepped up to the longer distances soon after. Talk to us through that.
I did my first Ironman in Forster in 1989 to help out a friend who asked for someone to train with and I decided I might as well do it too. Surprisingly, I qualified for Hawaii too (luckily!). My last was in 2017 when injuries and oldtimers caught up, as well as too many launches over the handlebars of the bike with no soft landings.
TriNSW: What does triathlon mean to you?
I was a very average competitor, but enjoyed the friendship of other likeminded people and it kept us out of the hotels and clubs like others of our age group. The social outlet of triathlon and the fact it helps me keep my weight down whilst still enjoying beer and wine and good food are some of the great things about it. I’m happy with the choice, although it did cost me quite a bit with trips to Hawaii, Perth, Melbourne, Forster and Port Macquarie! Most importantly it can’t be done without a supportive partner who enjoys the sport as well.
TriNSW: Triathlon is truly a lifelong sport and lifestyle. What would you say to other people your age out there about why they should get involved in triathlon and a triathlon club?
I’m 80 this year and at my age it’s more about helping others become triathletes. I don’t feel that I have anything of value now as a competitor except getting a few points for Warringah Tri Club at the Club Champs. I am hoping the body holds together. There are bits rusting off so it’s a day to day proposition. I’m holding off Club Champs entry until I’m sure there is a glimmer of hope for a finish on the same day as I start!
TriNSW: What do you like about the NSW Club Champs?
Club Champs is one of the best things to come out of triathlon. It’s all about swim, ride, run and PARTY then start again, so I’ll be there! I know I’ll enter, I’m just procrastinating, but hopefully we can get the over 75’s off early so Merry Mack and I can finish in time for the party.
CLICK HERE for more information and to register for Club Champs!
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