Tom Doyle, 56 

Because I get to train with those in their 20s and 30s, it confirms that it’s not about age so much as staying active. I’ll be competing as long as God sees fit for me to do so. Unlike the other stuff I can train for and compete in, the first Xterra made me feel 13 again. I’ve run 26 marathons, but the Xterra is more like going out to play with my friends. The three activities — the river swim, the mountain bike and the adventure run — require pacing for energy management. So I can look around to enjoy nature and the other competitors.

In the other single-event competitions … you’re so concentrated on speed that it’s real hard to look around and enjoy. Because I have to pace myself through each activity, training allows me to be more relaxed. So for an hour to three hours six days a week leading up to the Xterra it’s rather special to feel age 13 with the joy of the outdoors and no pressures. … Right now my running’s not going very well, and that should allow another 55-plus person to feel like a 13-year-old winner this year.

I finish second and third more than I win, but I do slip in a win every now and then. But, more importantly, to give back, I help manage the mountain bike team and the road team at Conte’s and help with leading recreational rides for the Richmond area bicycle association. And I guess a sideline is: I do volunteer work as a marshal on the course for the Richmond marathon. I trained a group of 15 first-time marathoners for a race in Dublin to raise money for the Leukemia Society, and the feeling of training these 15 individuals, and seeing their excitement in completing the marathon, was far more rewarding than to see myself excel in an event. — As told to Carrie Nieman



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