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Iron Nun, 86 Years Young, Takes on Triathlons After Church

( [email protected] ) Aug 26, 2016 01:07 PM EDT
Known as the "Iron Nun," Sister Madonna Buder has been running Ironman triathlons for 30-plus years, spurred on by her personal motto:  "The only failure is not to try." Her staying power now is getting captured for all to see in Nike's new "Unlimited Youth" ad, where her impressive athletic skills are showcased.
She's known as the "Iron Nun," and Sister Madonna Buder doesn't give up easily. She's been running Ironman Triathlons for more than 30 years and says, "The only failure is not to try." Rich Cruse Photography

Known as the "Iron Nun," Sister Madonna Buder has been running Ironman triathlons for 30-plus years, spurred on by her personal motto:  "The only failure is not to try." Her staying power now is getting captured for all to see in Nike's new "Unlimited Youth" ad, where her impressive athletic skills are showcased.

Narrated by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Oscar Isaac, the clip features Buder in her habit at church, on a morning run, swimming in open water, bicycling on mountainous terrain and taking part in an Ironman triathlon - she's finished 45, reports People.

In the ad, despite Isaac's increasing concern over how hard Buder is pushing herself, the sister keeps on going. Eventually, after learning her "Iron Nun" nickname, Isaac contends, "Do your thing sister, do your thing." In behind-the-scenes video from the shoot, Buder reveals she wasn't introduced to running until age 47 or 48, when a priest suggested it. 

 

"There was a point where I did not want to see a pair of running shoes, then triathlon came in," she explains. "That was the salvation." 

Buder is the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman triathlon, a feat she accomplished four years ago, according to Nike. The race requires participants to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. Buder holds the record for best finishing time in the 80- to 84-years old age group. 

 

"There were a lot of times where I had to think about failures and not reaching the goal that I set for myself," the nun said. "Then I realized, the only failure is not to try." 

The ad is the latest in Nike's Unlimited campaign, which has spots that include Serena Williams, Mo Farah, Gabby Douglas and transgender duathlete Chris Mosier.

Tags : Iron Nun, Sister Madonna Buder, Triathlon Nun, Nike, triathlons, Ironman, Ironman triathlons, Unlimited Youth, Nike, Nike Unlimited, Serena Williams, Mo Farah, Gabby Douglas, Chris Mosier