Erich Obst, 2 miles from the finish of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Erich Obst, 2 miles from the finish of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Erich Obst, 65

Erich is an 18-year Palm Desert resident who just completed the 2013 “Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.”  Known as one of the toughest competitions of its kind, Alcatraz consists of a mile and a half swim in the 51 degree waters of the San Francisco Bay (from ‘The Rock’ to the beach), followed by an 18-mile bike ride and an 8-mile run.

This is a huge accomplishment for any person, but even more so for Erich who only started doing endurance events in his 50’s and suffers from dystonia, a severe neurological disorder which has crippled his right arm. Deathly afraid of sharks and facing large swells that frigid March day, Erich finished fourth in the ParaTriathlon category.

Why put himself through an event he now refers to as ‘sheer terror’ in the water? “As I reached my 65th year, I realized that because of my condition, the number of long distance swims I can do may be numbered, so I wanted to challenge myself,” says Obst. “But my greatest hope is that I can inspire other aging athletes not to give up; to climb out of their chairs and keep fit.”  Will he do it again? “I just might do it again as a relay with the bike or run… as long as someone else does the swim!”

Bill Bell at the finish of the 2012 Palm Springs Tram Run

Bill Bell at the finish of the
2012 Palm Springs Tram Run

Bill Bell, 90

Bill Bell is a legend in the triathlon world. He has competed in 32 Ironman and 33 half Ironman races. He has completed 158 marathons and ultra runs (between 26.2 and 52.4 miles); and two Ultraman 3 day triathlons (6 mile swim, 250 mile bike, and 52.4 miles run – yes, all in one day). He started when he was 54 and is still competing today.

We are proud to announce that the sport’s governing body, the USA Triathlon, has designated Bell as a 2012 “All American” in the 90+ age group, the first to receive this prestigious honor in this newly created age group.

“It is still hard to believe that it has been over 30 years of doing triathlons,” notes Bell.

“I always wanted to keep ‘lining up’ with all my triathlete buddies, and pushing the age limits. Now I will be honored as the first 90-year-old All American. What a thrill!”

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