When most people reach the grand old age of 74 they look forward to taking life easy.
Not Tom Dixon, however, because when he reached that milestone, he signed up for his first triathlon instead.
Now 85, he has completed nearly 20 of the challenges and says he wants to keep on going until he’s 100. Tom, a former scales manufacturer, has a fitness regime that would put plenty of young gym bunnies to shame.
He cycles 100 miles a week, swims 50 lengths in the pool twice a week and runs for 20 miles, getting up at 4am to pound the pavements.
Tom said: “People say I’m mad to keep on going at my age but I do it because I enjoy it. I don’t want to be one of those old men sat in an armchair watching telly and sucking on a Werthers Original. When I’m out running in the morning, there’s not many people around to stop and stare at me as most folk are still tucked up in their beds!
“You’re never too old to train as far as I’m concerned. You just slow down, but at 85, I don’t mind if I’m one of the last to finish!”
Tom, from Tamworth, Staffs, decided to try a triathlon after years of running, cycling and swimming. He had already completed 15 marathons with a personal best of 3hrs 45min, a 150-mile bike ride in Wales and was a keen swimmer.
“I thought I would try to do the three of them together,” Tom told the Sunday People. “I loved doing marathons, the Sandwell Six Towns was my favourite and I did that a few times. Then I got into cycling too and I just like to push myself.”
Tom lost his wife Margaret in 2000 and says that doing triathlons and training has helped him cope and meet new people. He goes cycling with his oldest daughter Karen, 55, and his other daughter Jane, 47, and grandsons David, 26, and Thomas, 23, always support him at races.
He said: “The social side of it is really good. I mix with all kinds of people, young and old and we discuss everything from music and sport to politics. It’s very good that is, it keeps you young and on top of what’s going on in the world. The crowds are lovely too and really cheer me on. I’ve also raised thousands of pounds for charity. I support the Lung Foundation and Age Concern, so I’m helping people my age who aren’t as fortunate as me.”
The triathlons that Tom takes part in have a 200-metre swim, a 23km bike ride and a 2.5km run to finish. He normally completes them in an hour and a half and he says he finds it frustrating listening to people moaning about not being able to exercise.
Tom, who is 5ft 8ins and a healthy 11st 3lbs, said: “It’s just silly excuses. There is no reason why you can’t keep fit. People who say they are too old to train are full of rubbish, you’re never too old, you just slow down. But the more active you are the more energy you have and the younger you feel.”
As well as his active lifestyle, Tom puts his spritely ways down to healthy living too.
Tom said: “I’ve never had a cigarette and I’m not interested in drinking. I’ve always looked after myself. I have porridge with honey and banana for breakfast, soup for lunch and salmon and potato or salad for dinner. I just try to be myself and do my best and keep on going!”
Original article can be found here.