Tin is the new iron

Terry Hannon, organizer of the Tinman Triathlon. Courtesy Photo.

By Alyssa Evans

Terry Hannon, 79, has a simple message for baby boomers: Exercise.

In 1995, Hannon decided to organize a triathlon for those 50 and older. Now, the Portland native is bringing his triathlon to Blaine.

The Tinman Triathlon will be held September 5–7 at Semiahmoo Resort. Anyone who is at least 50 years old can participate.

During a routine check-up in 2015, a doctor noticed Hannon’s heart was beating too fast and recommended he go to a hospital for further testing. Eventually, Hannon had a triple bypass open-heart surgery to fix three clogged arteries and a valve that was pumping blood backwards.

“I was a mess and I had no idea I even had heart problems,” Hannon said.

Hannon wasn’t in good enough shape to do anything for about a year after his surgery, he said. In 2016, he moved to Blaine, after spending his life in Portland working as a judge. He now works with the Blaine Chamber of Commerce and the Blaine Senior Center.

The surgery reminded Hannon that people in their 50s and 60s need to stay in shape, watch what they’re eating and work to handle stress because all of those factors can contribute to heart disease, he said.

“All I’m trying to do is suggest to people that if you want to avoid open-heart surgery, do something. Do something to stay in shape,” Hannon said.

Tinman is unlike an Ironman Triathlon, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.22-mile run – all in one day. Rather, the Tinman consists of biking 9 miles, swimming nine lengths of a pool and playing nine holes of golf.

“My theory was if old-timers do one or two or maybe three of those things, they’re going to stay in pretty good shape,” Hannon said. “It just gives them the opportunity of the camaraderie of working with their same age group. It gives them a reason to stay in shape.”

Tinman participants will compete in one of the three activities per day. Participants will compete within four age groups, the 50s, 60s, 70s, and those 80 and older. Trophies will be awarded within each age group for both men and women.

“Nobody’s in this for the trophy,” Hannon said. “It’s just something to give them the recognition and that might make them work a little harder next year, spend a little more time on the bike, learn how to golf. Because that’s what it’s all about.”

The cost to participate in the triathlon is $100. Twenty percent of proceeds will benefit the Blaine Senior Center. Those interested can learn more by emailing Hannon at solidarity2@earthlink.net.

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