MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- They say life begins at 40. Maybe 50 -- but thanks to the Senior Olympics, and a challenge from a loved one, Gary Pinter is 60-something and going strong!
"I was team photographer as one of the parents for Marquette University, and I'm out there trying to run all these cross country tracks through the woods, and I couldn't keep up with these kids," Pinter said.
Pinter was proud to be at Marquette's cross country meets. His son ran on a scholarship there.
But like many of us, Pinter was overweight and out of shape. The game-changer was a conversation he had with his son.
"He kind of challenged me. He said 'you look like you're out of your prime now. Maybe you should get back in shape,'" Pinter said.
That was enough motivation for Dad!
"At that point, I was like 210 pounds and I lost, I went down to 150. That's how I lost all that weight by getting involved in the Senior Olympics," Pinter said.
Other than marrying his wife Beth and becoming a dad, that turned out to be one of Pinter's best moves.
"I wanted to lose the weight. I wanted to get back in shape. I knew I was 56 years old and I thought I was really over the hill and out of the game. The whole idea of the Senior Olympics is to get Wisconsin's older adults out, off the couch and try to maintain and improve their overall fitness and wellness. It works. It worked for me," Pinter said.
The Senior Olympics includes everything from shuffleboard to lawn bowling to horseshoes -- to track and field events, swimming and biking for the more active adults.
Pinter did it all -- but what really got his motor going was the thought of doing a triathlon. The standard one includes a 400-meter swim, a 16-mile bike ride and a 5K run.
"That's when I got hooked. The triathlon was a lot of fun because you kind of get tired of just running or just biking or whatever. So you put all three together. I found out that's a lot of fun," Pinter said.
Pinter's idea of fun goes even beyond a triathlon -- to the Ironman!
"The full Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and then a full marathon at the end of the day. I've done it once, and I'm planning on doing it next September," Pinter said.
Pinter did alright, but not without what he believes was some Divine Intervention as he was trying to finish his marathon in Madison.
"All of a sudden, I got such a cramp in my back. It felt like someone was sticking a knife in my back, and I started praying. An angel came by. I never saw the person. They started rubbing my back. The cramp let go, and I just ran in and I finished my Ironman. It's all the 60,000 people -- spectators and the volunteers that encouraged us along the way. I could never do an Ironman without the people surrounding us and the fans not to stop or not to quit," Pinter said.
It is amazing that Pinter completed the Ironman within the required time of 17 hours. So how far does Pinter plan to go with all this? How about all the way to Hawaii!
"My goal is, I'd like to make it to Kona for the World Championships. If I never make it there, I'm absolutely fine. But I have a goal," Pinter said.
Goals are individual, so if you're a senior who's 50 and older, you can participate in the Senior Olympics, and you don't have to do a triathlon or an Ironman.
"There's a man in Texas that bowled into his, he was like 101 and he averaged in three games, 148. The guy's incredible," Pinter said.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Senior Olympics.