2005-07-08 / Sports

Neinast Proves That Age Is Nothing But A Number

By Denis Gorman

Fred Neinast is pictured during one of his many practice runs.   Fred Neinast is pictured during one of his many practice runs. Running a triathlon at 52 years old? It doesn’t make sense.

Most 52 year olds aren’t running triathlons – they’re working and seeing retirement in the not-too-distant future. They may be gazing at their children, hoping for their best. Triathlons? Fifty-two year olds aren’t participating in triathlons.

Fred Neinast, however, is not your prototypical 52 year old.

Neinast, a Rockaway Beach native, will be running in Sunday’s New York City Triathlon. And, if history is any indication, Neinast should experience success. In his career, he has won his age group 90 percent of the time, and he’s been the overall winner 19 times.

The pharmaceutical home care manager for Coram Health Care remembers his first overall win vividly.

“I won at Point Lookout 10-to-12 years ago. At the half mile point, I realized I was going to win it all and it was a nice feeling, and I soaked it all in.”

How does a person decide to start participating in sport’s most grueling endeavor? For Neinast, it started after finishing a high school running career.

“I saw it as a healthier way to work out, a more well rounded workout,” he explained. “You use all of your muscles. I start January 1, seven to eight workouts a week; try to do something everyday.

“During the winter, I’ll swim in a pool. Summer, I’ll swim in the ocean. I take off October, November and December; a three month slow-down period.”

Sunday’s course is crafted to be physically taxing, to draw out the athletes’ best. A 40-kilometer bike race on the on Henry Hudson Parkway will be followed by a 10-kilometer foot race in Central Park and conclude with a 1,500-meter swim in the Hudson River.

And the No. 9 ranked U.S. athlete in the 50-and-up age group absolutely cannot wait. Even if he knows, much like the Yankees, that others in his age group will be gunning for him.

“Right now, as I get older, it gets harder. My goal is to win my age group, even with the good age group racers,” said Neinast.

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