From cheerleader to Ironman

DO IT: Westlake Village resident Holly Russ, 53, above and below, competes at the 2022 World Triathlon Championships in Abu Dhabi in November 2022. Courtesy photos

With the new year, many will find it difficult to keep a resolution to get fit and stay fit. Holly Russ, 53, is an inspiration that anyone can achieve their goals at any age.

In 2005, Russ was a stay-at-home mom raising three boys in Westlake Village.

Last November, she competed in the 2022 Triathlon World Series in Abu Dhabi against women from around the world.

“It started small,” she said of going from super mom to super athlete. “I was 35 years old. I started with a half marathon. Then a full marathon. But age is just a number. It’s never too late.”

Russ was not athletic growing up. His two sisters played college sports; she was an entertainer.

Her mindset changed after she joined a running group started by her sister Jamie Allison called Moms in Motion. After that group disbanded, Russ started his own in Westlake and ran it for 10 years.

Over time, his determination and drive grew.

“I decided to focus on the goals I set for myself,” he said.

His goal: to compete in Abu Dhabi in the Triathlon World Championship Series.

Triathlon is widely considered one of the most challenging athletic disciplines, as it encompasses three demanding sports: running, swimming and cycling. For competition, an athlete must train in not one, but all three.

Russ qualified for the half Ironman, consisting of a 1.2 mile swim; 56 miles of course and 13.1 miles of running. A full Ironman is 140.6 miles, with 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and a full marathon.

In addition to the endurance, participants must provide their own equipment, including a racing cycle, which can cost thousands of dollars. Competitions are held all over the world; competitors pay their own way and manage their own team. Most also have a coach.

The triathlon competition is divided into several groups, between elite athletes, para-athletes and age groups. Russ was between 50 and 54 years old.

It was a long road to earn a spot on Team USA.

GIVING IT ALL: Holly Russ takes a breather after completing the half Ironman event in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy photo

First, Russ had to qualify for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. To receive an invitation, competitors must place first or second in their age group or in the top 15% of their age group.

The mother of three didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Her coach, Susan Corti, qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, after undergoing a mastectomy for breast cancer.

“She still made it. Strength, perseverance and determination,” Russ said.

In 2020, Russ received an invitation to compete in a triathlon world championship in New Zealand in 2020; then the bottom fell out.

“My dreams were shattered when COVID canceled the event,” he said.

He raced again at nationals in 2021, finishing one place outside the classification, but someone in front of him dropped out.

Last November, she traveled with her husband, Dave, to the Arabian Peninsula for the World Championships.

“It was surreal,” he said of competing in Abu Dhabi. “I was so proud to represent the United States of America. I cried when we started walking with the Parade of Nations. All the people from all over the world, to meet them and compete with them, we were all in this together like something I’ve never experienced before.”

When he arrived, he found everything taken care of, from massage therapists to chiropractors. The US team was even treated to Abu Dhabi’s version of an American Thanksgiving dinner consisting of turkey and sweet potatoes.

He had met some of his cohorts at other competitions, but approached three women from California.

They trained in 90-degree heat and 70 percent humidity on Yas Island, a tourist and sports center that hosts the Formula 1 racing championship and other sports and entertainment events.

“We were watching the cars driving down the runway and the yachts on the waterways. We took a tour of the city of Abu Dhabi. Stunning architecture. The water is beautiful in the Persian Gulf.”

She and Dave visited the world’s only 7-star hotel to see the rooms where US President Bill Clinton and singer Elton John stayed. They dune buggyed in the desert, sandsurfed on a sled and stopped at an oasis for a camel ride before the race.

When race day arrived, it was all business. Russ placed fourth among the American women and 18th overall.

“I had a good swim and a personal best on the bike. It was a tough race because it was very hot. Still, I’m happy with how I placed,” she said.

There were 80 countries represented and the United States had the second largest number of athletes behind Great Britain with 220 people.

“When I was little, I saw (Olympic gymnast) Nadia Comaneci.

“I did endless cartwheels. The seed of working hard and persevering never took off,” Russ said. “I thought about her a lot, but I thought thinking about her was as close as I could get.”

Then, on November 26, he was wearing Team USA gear.

“There I was thinking about Nadia. ‘Wow! Here I am.’ That dream never died.”

Russ plans to go to London in April for his 11th marathon; has competed in Boston, New York and Chicago. He said he has put his bike aside for a while and is just running.

Whatever is in store for Russ, he’s already covered a lot of ground.

“My family laughed at me, at first. I surprised them. I was surprised I call it my “What if” voice. ‘What if I do this and qualify?’ It led to opportunities I never imagined.

“You put one foot in front of the other and sometimes one foot back. It’s a metaphor for life.”

How long does an Ironman take on average?

What is the shortest Ironman time? Men: 7:35:39 â Jan Frodeno (Challenge Roth, 2016) Women: 8:18:13 â Chrissie Wellington (Challenge Roth, 2011) See the article : Philadelphia football players and cheerleaders return to the Shepard Recreation Center after the quintuplet shooting.

How long does an Ironman 70.3 take? Total Cutoff Time: The race will officially end 8 hours and 30 minutes after the final wave. Each athlete will have 8 hours and 30 minutes to complete the race.

What is a respectable Ironman time? The 18-24 group has an average arrival time of 2:47 for men and 3:05 for women. In the older age groups, we reach averages of 3:29 for men aged 75-79 and 3:56 for women aged 70-74. To get to the question of a “good” triathlon time, a man needs 2:34 to be in the top 20%, while a woman will need 2:48 to make it.

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Am I fit enough to do an Ironman?

Yes, if you are currently able to run 10-12 miles, bike 40-60 miles, and can swim a mile, you can safely train for an Ironman in 6 months. This may interest you : Han Ji Hyun Turns into a Cheerful Cheerleader in Teaser Poster for SBS’s New Drama ‘Cheer Up’. These distances are ideal for those looking to train (safely) for an Ironman in 6 months.

Do you have to be fit to do Ironman? You must be comfortable training up to 75% of standard triathlon distance in each discipline. As the standard distance is 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run, we are talking about 1.125km swim, 30km bike and 7.5km run. If you can, you will certainly have the ability to bring it all together in one event.

How do I know if I’m ready for an Ironman? 5 Signs You’re Ready for Your First Ironman

  • you are healthy Ironman athletes are a determined bunch, willing to go further and train harder than their peers. …
  • You have been training for at least six months. …
  • You have people supporting you. …
  • You feel good about yourself. …
  • You have actually participated in triathlons.

Is Ironman hard on your body? Muscle tissue stress may be the biggest challenge the body faces in an Ironman triathlon. A large number of muscle cells are altered, damaged and deconstructed along the way. The primary cause of muscle damage is mechanical stress, which is primarily caused by eccentric (pronounced ee-centric) muscle contractions.

Can an average person do an Ironman?

Anyone can do an IRONMAN if they want to. If you’re thinking about it, there’s no doubt that you can do it too. On the same subject : LG and KIA Cheerleader Killed on Itaewon Halloween…with a little self-esteem and hard work, you can achieve anything. However, you need to give yourself the best chance of success.

How long does it take the average person to do an Ironman? Average Ironman Triathlon Finish Time The average triathlete will complete an IRONMAN triathlon in 13-13.5 hours, requiring about 1:20 hours to finish the swim, 6:30 hours to finish the bike, and 5:00 hours to finish the career

What percentage of people can do an Ironman? Your chances of running into an Ironman finisher walking down the street are about 1 in 1,000.

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