Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, July 21, 2001


After 73 years,
Newhart ‘just trying
to stay in shape‘

She has never fallen out in
13 runs of the Tinman Triathlon

By Cindy Luis

There was a time in Jan Newhart's life that she wasn't an athlete.

Back then, her horse got more exercise than she did.

Tomorrow, the 73-year-old will compete in her 13th Tinman Triathlon.

"I enjoy these (multi-sport) events more than the heavy-duty distance running," said Newhart, who has completed several marathons and ultramarathons. "I've tried to get back into distance running but I like the cross-training.

"I'm just trying to stay in shape."

Newhart was 56 years old when she did her first Tinman back in 1984. The popular event has grown to where the field is now limited to 1,000 competitors; she will be the oldest female and one of four triathletes age 70 or older.

The course is comprised of an 800-meter swim at Ala Moana Beach, a 25-mile bike ride from Ala Moana Beach to Hawaii Kai and back to Kapiolani Park; and a 6.2-mile run from Kapiolani Park to Kahala and back.

"My least favorite (segment) is the run," said Newhart, who holds the course record for her age group. "It's very hard when your legs have been going around and around (cycling) for 25 miles then have them going forward (on the run).

"The most fun is the before and after. There are so many people who have never done the race before and they're all excited at the start and at the finish."

Just finishing is a great motivation for Newhart, who moved to Hawaii in 1954. She took up running with her two children in the 1970s, attending Jack Scaff's first Honolulu Marathon Clinic, and completing the 1975 race.

"I've never not finished a race," she said. "My biggest fear is that something will go wrong during the race and I won't finish.

"I've been the oldest female for the past few years. Last year, I finished ahead of 97 other racers. When I find myself at the very end, one of the last, I think I'll give it up."

Until then, she hopes to continue as an inspiration to athletes of all ages.

"I get a lot of encouragement during the race from the other athletes and the spectators," said Newhart. "They've told me that seeing me inspires them to exercise.

"I was 56 in my first Tinman. I've never done the Ironman. I think if they had it when I was younger, I may have thought about it."

21st Tinman Triathlon

When: Tomorrow, 5:45 a.m. start
What: 800-meter swim, Ala Moana Beach; 25-mile bike ride from Ala Moana to Hawaii Kai to Kapiolani Park; 6.2-mile run from Kapiolani Park to Kahala and back.
Who: 1,000 men and women, ages 15-85.
Awards ceremony: 11 a.m., Kapiolani Park Bandstand.

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