It’s Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been – Cherie Gruenfeld

Cherie Gruenfeld exemplifies the ability to remain competitive regardless of age.

Much like many of our listeners, Cherie picked up endurance sports a little later in life – starting running in her early 40s and triathlons in her late 40s.

Now at the age of 73, she is one of the most heavily decorated Masters triathletes in the world and still competes in half Ironmans to this day.

In this episode, Cherie walks us through her late entry into competitive running and triathlons, her philosophy for finding continued success in the sport, and a little about her nonprofit organization through which she works to help underprivileged kids achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Between her advice on longevity in the sport and her outlook on self betterment (even when that may no longer mean setting PR’s), Cherie’s story has something for everyone.


Here are some of the topics we’ll discuss today:

  • What motivated Cherie to start running and competing in triathlons
  • How she has maintained her competitive streak, both physically and mentally
  • What makes the Ironman World Championship at Kona so special to Cherie
  • How Cherie is giving back through sport and opportunity
  • Questions Cherie is asked:

    3:25 What is your athletic background?

    5:14 What inspired you to start running?

    8:36 Did you have any setbacks or struggles when you first started?

    10:12 When did you realize you had the potential to be a competitive triathlete?

    10:55 How did you get interested in triathlons?

    19:04 Did you know at your first Kona event that you could become one of the most decorated Masters triathletes in the world?

    19:45 What did becoming the first woman over age 55 to complete an Ironman in less than 12 hours mean to you?

    23:14 Why did you select Kona as the event you wanted to break the 12-hour barrier?

    24:18 What makes Kona so special to you?

    26:21 What makes Kona something you look forward to year after year?

    28:22 Is Kona the Boston Marathon of triathlons?

    28:44 Which part of the triathlon is your strongest and which is your weakest?

    30:25 Is trying to set new goals within each component of the triathlon part of what keeps you going?

    36:47 How has BodyHealth helped you compete at such a high level for so long while remaining healthy?

    39:21 Do you attribute much of your success to these supplements and how did you feel prior to and after using them regularly?

    41:39 Besides the supplements, what other tips do you have for maintaining competitive longevity?

    43:32 What is your organization, Exceeding Expectations, and what is its mission?

    49:12 What’s next for you?

    Quotes by Cherie:

    “I would never have guessed that I would have had the opportunities that I did.”

    “If you have to ask (about Kona), you haven’t been there.”

    “There’s a bonding among all Ironmen; you meet another Ironman on a plane and you don’t even have to ask questions, you just automatically know certain things about the character of the person.”

    “My swim and my bike are within 10 or 15 minutes of what they used to be, but the run? There’s no way that I am going to run a 4-hour marathon in an Ironman any longer. But I’m still one of the top runners in the age group.”

    “You cannot race the way you used to; you simply are NOT going to, and you have to accept that.”

    “Sleeping is critical to being ready for the next day.”

    “Don’t wait till you’re a Masters athlete to start thinking about maintaining health and longevity, because if you intend to stay in this for the long haul, you gotta start when you’re younger. You have to develop these good, healthy habits, you have to understand that you’re not invincible, that you can be taken down and it’s up to you to take care of yourself so that some of that doesn’t happen.”

    “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

    Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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    Mentioned in this podcast:

    BodyHealth supplements homepage
    Exceeding Expectations Foundation
    Challenged Athletes Foundation

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