79-Year-Old Encourages Other Women To Compete In YWCA Triathlon

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The 10th annual YWCA Minneapolis women’s triathlon Sunday at Lake Nokomis is drawing a diverse group of more than 1,500 athletes.

Endurance sports like triathlons are a huge draw for people looking to challenge themselves, no matter their pace or their athletic ability. This year’s turnout for the state’s only all-women triathlon is a record, and inclusively is a big reason.

“Come down and watch the race on Sunday because you will see women that are all different shapes, all different sizes, all different ages, all different races and everyone is having a wonderful time,” triathlete Judy Rykken said. “Everyone’s so supportive and I think that’s one reason the race is so successful.”

Rykken is an experienced triathlete competing in all 10 YWCA Minneapolis women’s triathlons. She’s also 79 years old. Rykken says she’s always enjoyed playing outside and feeling strong and active.

“At this age, I would really like to encourage other people to keep going because you want to feel as good as you can as long as you can and be able to do things,” she said. “It’s so much more fun participating in something than watching.”

The YWCA women’s triathlon features six times the number of women over the age of 50 than the largest triathlon in Minnesota. Almost 400 women age 50 and older are registered. Rykken says she plans to keep competing as long as she can and wants to see more races and an 80-and-up age group.

Sunday’s event includes a 500-yard swim in Lake Nokomis, a 15.5-mile bike race along the Minnehaha Parkway, and a 5-kilometer run around the lake. More than 3,500 people are expected to cheer on the triathletes when it gets underway at 8 a.m.

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