More than a dozen local retirees have been deemed “Iron” men and woman for their athletic endurance and prowess. All of the competition winners are residents of Vinson Hall retirement community in McLean. During the second annual competition, they completed a variety of physical activities to earn the title of “Ironman.”
“It’s common thinking that we get older, we retire, we get frail. [These participants] are proof we can improve. We can improve our flexibility and we can improve our cardiovascular,” said Steve Rohrback, Vinson Hall athletic coordinator.
To earn the title Ironman the contestants had to complete 10 miles on a bicycle, six miles on a treadmill, do four full-body work outs and swim 60 laps in the pool. Two-time winner Jane Peak said, “It was a challenge just to see if I could do it.”
Her husband Paul Peak said, “Since she beat me last year I had to do it this year.” The couple said working out together helped them stick to the routine of exercising and helped motivate them to get into the gym.
IRONMAN DAVID CHEWNING said that keeping physically active is important for people of all ages. “I work out every day if I can. I even work out Sunday in my room with some weights when [the gym] is closed.” His advice to other seniors looking to increase their activity level is, “Just do it and don’t be afraid.”
Vinson Hall officials recognized residents who performed outstandingly in one physical activity with a T-shirt reading, “I live in Vinson Hall” on the front and “I STILL work out more than you do” on the back. Shirley Stillman was acknowledged for walking 9.4 miles on the treadmill. “If you see the length of her legs, that’s a lot of steps,” joked Rohrback of Stillman’s small stature. Greta Baldwin was recognized for swimming 418 laps, Dr. Switzer for riding 33.45 miles and Henry Adams for lifting over 16,000 pounds. Of Adams' feat, Rohrback said, “I think Bethesda is evaluating him now.”
Ironman Thomas Donnelly said, “A few short weeks ago I showed up to participate in a blood drive and was rejected for a lack of iron in my blood. I’m going to go call the head of the Red Cross now and straighten them out.”
The athletes were treated to an awards ceremony and reception at Vinson Hall to celebrate their achievement. Rohrback said, “This is actually a celebration of everyone who worked out. This is for everybody.”
The senior Ironman event has seen a growth in entrants each year so the community intends to repeat the contest next year. Last year there were only three Ironman winners; this year eight people took up and completed the challenge.
Maj. David Chewning
Maj. Thomas Donnelly
Lt. Edward Carpenter
Capt. Paul Peak
Col. August Kursar
Dr. William Thomas
Most Dedicated Newcomer: Dr. Boaz
Most Fortitude: Frances DeBolt
Most Weights: Capt. Henry Adams
Biked the Most: Rear Adm. Robert Switzer
Swam the Most: Greta Baldwin
Walked the Most: Shirley Stillman