62-yr-old grandmother of 9 loves her triathlons

September 17, 2009 by Odile Faludi - Maccabi NSW
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There is ordinary, extraordinary and then there is Anne Besser.

Michael and Anne Besser

Michael and Anne Besser

She is a woman in her own class. At 62 years old and a nine time grandma she is relentless with an unstoppable passion and love of triathlon challenges. Last Saturday, Anne and her husband, Michael participated in the 2009 ITU Triathlon World Championships  in Queensland. Up to 7000 athletes from around the world and Australia and some 60,000 spectators attended. The event was grueling and Anne simply says, “It was the hardest one yet and I have done a few of them. I have in fact done eight World Olympic Distance Triathlon Championships to date going non stop for the last 9 years. I have also represented Australia 3 times with Maccabi – two Maccabiot (Bronze medals both times) and one Pan American Games in Buenos Aires (Gold).”   This ITU Queensland event involved an incredible 1500m ocean swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run. Anne’s favourite line is “Pain is temporary, but glory lasts forever.” This is what kept her going in this event which drained every ounce of determination out of her body. Crippled by a back spasm from start to finish, assisting someone in need along the way she finished a respectable 27th out of 30 participants. Michael, finished 62nd out of 80 participants and did exceptionally well.

Anne was given the honour of carrying the Australian Flag ahead of the team of 960 Australian Triathletes into the arena for the Opening Ceremony and this left her moved beyond words. Anne says, “To be asked to be flag bearer at World Championships, on home soil, by Triathlon Australia (the founder of the sport in the world) has taken my breath away.”

To think Anne only started to bike ride around her mid 40’s and could only swim 25m at best and never had run further than the mail box is quite phenomenal. She has spent the last 20 years persisting to become the best she can possibly be. Anne really has taken the quote of Zen Koan to heart, “You will get what you want if you work hard and don’t die first.” Anne walks and breathes this line. She is an inspiration together with her husband Michael. Anne is now looking to the future and is going to move to Sprint distance events but finishes the interview saying, “I am honoured to be a member of Maccabi and hope I have contributed something to the organization and helped to promote a healthy lifestyle and maybe even inspired others to get out there and give it a go!”

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