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My Hobbies

In 1990, at the age of 34, my boss at the bank where I worked asked me to run in a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race to support a local charity. She told me that the race was in three weeks and that all the important people at the bank would be there. Well, I had played football and wrestled in school, but had never been a runner. I was about 25 pounds heavier than I should have been, and didn’t know if I could even run three miles. I went home that afternoon and decided to run three miles to see if I could do it. I finished the three-mile run, but certainly didn’t enjoy it. My ankles hurt, I was tired, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would do this for “fun”. But I didn’t want to be embarrassed at the race, so I ran three miles every day for three weeks. When I lined up to start the race with the other 1,500 people who were running, I figured that this would probably be the only time I would ever compete in a road race. Well, it turned out that I really enjoyed running the race and finished somewhere in the top 25% of all the runners out there. It was fun to run through the streets of the city with such a big group and then enjoy food and drinks with everyone afterwards.

After the race, someone told me that there was a 10-kilometer race in two months and that it was the biggest race in the area with over 5,000 runners. I decided to keep running each day and work up to 6 miles over the next two months. I ran in the race, and enjoyed this one even more than the first. I was hooked. I went out and bought a pair of running shoes (I ran the first two races in tennis shoes) and ran a few miles every day. I entered weekend races whenever I could and about a year later, I completed my first marathon (26.2 miles). Though I wasn’t a slow racer, I was never one of those who got an award for being in the top three in my age-group. But that was ok. I just enjoyed running each day and participating in the road races.

Somehow, as I got older, I didn’t slow down very much. When I turned 40, I started to place in the top three in my age-group at many of the races I entered. By the time I turned 50, I was winning some races. As someone who had only been an average athlete all my life, I thought that was pretty cool.  

At age 53, I was struggling with an injury to my Achilles tendon and had to stop running for a few months while it healed. I didn’t want to totally stop exercising, so I decided to swim at a local athletic club in the mornings. I had swum on a summer swim team when I was 12-15 years old, but was not particularly fast. Now – not having swum in years, I could only do a few lengths of the pool before I got tired and had to stop and rest. A couple of friends saw me swimming and told me, “Bill, you are not too bad of a swimmer. When your Achilles tendon heals, you should consider doing a triathlon”. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was in high school, and got tired very easily while swimming, but I decided to give it a try – just once. In a few months, the first New Orleans 70.3 (miles) Half-Ironman Triathlon was scheduled to be raced. It seemed like a reasonable goal, so I borrowed a bike from a friend and practiced riding it on Sunday afternoons. I did spin classes a couple of mornings each week, and worked on my swimming once or twice per week as well. When I competed in my first triathlon in 2009 with a borrowed bike and a borrowed wetsuit, I finished somewhere in the middle of my age-group. I was dehydrated and was so sore that I couldn’t come to work the next day (fortunately, I didn’t have any classes scheduled). But I was hooked. I continued to train, race, and improve. In my third triathlon, I surprised myself by finishing first in my age-group. Now I was motivated to train harder and to get involved with other “older” guys and gals for group bike-rides on Saturdays and regular swim practices a couple of mornings each week.

I am now 67 years old and still enjoy running road races and competing in triathlons. Fortunately, I have not slowed down as much as most other men my age, and as a result, I have been able to do well. I’m not a particularly strong bike-rider, but I am an ok swimmer and a pretty good runner for my age. I seem to get injured (muscle pulls, tendinitis, knee injuries, and things like that) every year or so, but when I’m healthy, I train 15-20 hours per week. I have completed 10 marathons (including the Chicago, New York City and Boston Marathons) and four Ironman Triathlons (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run). I have won my age-group in the New York City Triathlon, the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon, five different Ironman 70.3 triathlons, the U.S.A. Sprint Triathlon World Championship Qualifier, the Louisiana state one-mile championship (three times), the Louisiana state Triathlon Championship, the Louisiana Half-Marathon, the Crescent City Classic, the Atlanta Peachtree 10K, and the New Orleans Rock-and-Roll Half-Marathon (four times); I have won 20 Crescent City Classic posters; have received All-American status from USA Triathlon ten times, and three times I’ve won the national championship in my age-group in the Aquathlon (swim and run – no bike). In 2021, I won the national championship in my age group in the Sprint Distance Draft-Legal Triathlon. In 2016, I placed 5th at the Aquathlon World Championships and in 2017, I placed 6th. In 2017, I placed 11th at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and in 2021 I placed 5th. In 2018, I finished 8th at the USA Triathlon Olympic Distance National Championships and in 2021, I finished 3rd. In February 2020, I set an unofficial world record in the 1,000/100/10 challenge (1,000 yard swim, 100 pushups, and 10K run) by completing the challenge in one minute and ten seconds less than my age. Not too bad for an average athlete who stuck with it as he got older.

One other thing: I am the unofficial push-up champion of the A.B. Freeman School of Business, having beaten every student who has challenged me over the past 26 years and I’m always open to new challengers.