'Iron Nun' aims to become oldest competitor to finish Ironman Triathlon

Sister Madonna Buder to swim, bike, run through soggy 140.6-mile course

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - If 85-year-old Sister Madonna Buder finishes the 140.6 Ironman Texas on Saturday in the Woodlands, she will be the oldest competitor to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon.

"I have never abandoned a race without attempting to give it my all," she told KPRC 2.

Buder is known as the "Iron Nun." She has completed about 400 triathlons and 45 Ironman distance races. That includes the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. She finished that race, in 2006, just 57 seconds before the course closed.

Buder hopes to return to Hawaii to open the race to women older than 80.

"It puts me in touch with reality and eternity," Buder said of racing. "Any day on that course, I could be pivoted above. Anything can happen."

As she checked in her bike Friday, she was treated like a celebrity, with other athletes asking for a photo with Buder.

"If you love what you're doing, then you'll feel fulfilled," Buder said.

Bryan Lam, a triathlete from California, took a picture with Buder.

"It shows you that anything's possible and it doesn't matter what age you are -- any background," Lam said. "It shows that if you have dedication and are passionate about something, you can absolutely go and do it."

On Saturday, Buder and about 3,000 other athletes will swim, bike and run through a soggy 140.6-mile course.

The "Iron Nun" will have a single prayer.

"God, help me do my best and you do the rest," Buder said.

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