Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Over-70 competitors in Sunday's Iron Girl ready to grind it out

No boys are allowed to compete in the annual Iron Girl event on Clearwater Beach.

Courtesy of Ali Darvish Photography (2010)

No boys are allowed to compete in the annual Iron Girl event on Clearwater Beach.

CLEARWATER — She's an avid runner.

She's a personal trainer.

And at 70, St. Petersburg's Claire Lynn is one of the oldest competitors in Sunday morning's Iron Girl race on Clearwater Beach.

The five-time cancer survivor had her most recent brush with death this past summer. But Lynn — a grandmother of six who's studying physical therapy and nutrition — is too busy having fun to slow down.

"We all have problems in our life, but we've got to push forward," she said. "And what is running all about? Pushing forward!"

About 3,000 women and girls, ages 4 through 83, will wind their way along the beach Sunday as part of the annual 5K run and — for the first time ever — half marathon.

Launched in 2004 in Palm Harbor, Iron Girl has expanded from two annual events to 13 nationwide. Organizers say camaraderie is a staple of the 5K, 10K, 15K, duathlon and triathlon events, which are focused on empowering women to take on new challenges and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

No male runners are allowed.

"Women are so often doing things for others and taking care of other people that the Iron Girl series really allows them to have a little 'me time' with other people supporting them and cheering them on," said event spokeswoman Jessica Weidensall.

"It's a women's-only event, but we encourage men to come out and give back and support the women in their lives," she said.

Sunday's loop kicks off at 7 a.m. at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach.

Three-time Iron Girl racer Pat Linn of Dunedin said a friend first inspired her to participate when she was 71, and her 5K time has steadily improved from 42 to, most recently, 36 minutes. When she was 72, she won second place in her age group, then won first at age 73.

Now 75, Linn, who enters a new age group this year, has been training up to four days a week in anticipation of beating her old time — and hopefully besting the runners in her previous age group.

"It's a really great experience and I wish there were more people that could do what I'm doing," she said. "I'm hoping some people will say, 'Hey, if she can do it, I can do it.' "

When Linn, who calls herself "The Black Horse," steps onto the track Sunday in her signature black shorts and black shoes, she'll be thinking of three friends who have recently died from cancer.

She'll wear a flower in her blond hair so her husband, a cancer survivor whom she calls "a strong supporter," can spot her in the crowd.

"(My friends) were all active people also," she said. "I've got to carry on and remember."

Lynn of St. Petersburg said her entire family has rallied around her efforts to improve her lifestyle after cancer scares in 1993, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

She joined a gym, began walking up to 7 miles a day and lost 100 pounds. The retiree even became a personal trainer herself, helping peers age 50 and older get fit in their homes through a service she launched called "Discover Yourself."

Her goal had been to run a full marathon on her 70th birthday this past December. But in July, after five years, the cancer returned.

She's back in remission, and Iron Girl 5K is the perfect opportunity to challenge herself and show what she can do.

"I was kind of set back," Lynn said. But "I've made my decision that no matter what, come Sunday, I'm going to push myself."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at ksummers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

Fast facts

Iron Girl

Last chance to register: Visit Coachman Park, 301 Drew St. in Clearwater, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Race time: 7 a.m. Sunday start for half marathon, 7:15 a.m. for 5K.

Where: Pier 60, Clearwater Beach.

Information: irongirl.com/Events/Clearwater.

Over-70 competitors in Sunday's Iron Girl ready to grind it out 04/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 9:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  3. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulffront hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests at the Don CeSar Hotel relax Tuesday on St. Pete Beach. That night, the City Commission unanimously passed an ordinance to allow hotel guests to drink alcohol in permitted beach areas.
  4. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  5. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark

    National

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    From left, Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact executive director, introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, PolitiFact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair; and Neil Brown, Tampa Bay Times editor and vice president, at the Poynter Institute on Tuesday.