Meet Sister Madonna Buder, also known as the “Iron Nun”, who is a regular in the Iron Man Triathlon circuit. She has finished over 325 triathlons including 45 Ironman races which consist of a grueling 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.
She started joining running events when she was 48 years old. For her, it was her second calling.
In 1982, she joined the Boston Marathon and shortly after, started doing triathlons. Her first triathlon was in Banbridge, Ireland at the age of 52. Competing in the IronMan in 1996, she finished the event in 14:27:14 and broke the world record for the 65-69 age group.
She gained the title of “Iron Nun” when she joined the Hawaii IronMan in 2005. Sister Buder became her overall age group IronMan world record holder at the Subaru IronMan Canada on August 2012 when at the age of 82, she beat the record held by Lew Hollander at the Ironman Kona World Championship in 2011.
Sister Madonna Buder was born as Marie Dorothy Buder on July 24, 1930 in St. Louis Missouri. She was an award winning equestrian at 16 years old. She is also a senior Olympian, and has won several awards in various distances. She pursued her first calling as a nun when she was 23 years old and entered Sisters of the Good Shepherd in St. Louis.
As she said on Triathlon Inspires, “It's not what you say, it's what you do; don't pay attention to how old you are, only focus on how old you feel; and be patient — one of my worst enemies is patience, I'm still trying to fine-tune it so that I'm able to stop and smell the roses”.
Sister Buder is now a member of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame.