Many people begin to slow down in their 70’s, but Sister Madonna Buder, “The Iron Nun”, has done just the opposite. The Roman Catholic nun has garnered much attention for her athletic abilities, and she’s indicated that she will be running in the Boston Marathon next month.
The author of “The Race to Grace”, her autobiography about her journey to running, Sr. Buder is well known for competing in more than 40 Ironman Triathalons, a grueling race that consists of 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run. The Spokane, Washington nun is a member of the Sisters for Christian Community.
Sr. Buder began training more than 30 years ago at the age of 48 after hearing a priest speak on the benefits of distance running. “The priest told me ‘You’ve got to keep this up, it takes at least two months before you know what the runner’s high is,’ ” Sr. Buder said. “20, 25, 30 years later, do I know what the runner’s high is? No, but I sure know what the lows are.”
Sr. Buder is a legend in the triathlon community for breaking records and pushing boundaries. She competed in her first Ironman at age 55. At 75, she finished the Hawaii Ironman in 16 hours, an hour before the cut-off. In 2020, Sr. Buder broke her own record of being the oldest female to complete the Ironman, and the Ironman organization has had to add age brackets as the years go by to accommodate her!
Sr. Buder was involved in a bicycle accident that almost kept her from competing in the Boston Marathon in 2020. While still recovering, she finished the Boston Marathon in 4:42:33. This was more than 30 minutes before the cut off time for women in her age bracket. “There are times when you are going to have to forget your body,” she said. “That’s when you use your mind, so your body is not suffering in vain.”
Sr. Buder doesn’t allow her running to get in the way of her faith, attending daily Mass before beginning her training. She also uses her races to raise money for charitable causes. She has been quoted as saying, “I train religiously.”
Sr. Madonna Buder has a Facebook Fan Page and has been seen on multiple news programs. She was named “A Hero of Running” by Runner’s World Magazine.
Go, Sr. Buder!