Rose Spicer, a 62-year-old also known as “Ultra Nana,” broke the former age-group world record at last month’s Ultraman Australia. She was two and a half hours faster than the previous record holder. The race was spread out over three days and included a total of 10 km of swimming, 421 km of cycling and 84 km of running. “I was very proud — I came fourth overall in the women and I beat men too which I’m very proud about,” Spicer told ABC News.
Spicer didn’t think it would be feasible that she could accomplish this twenty years ago. “I never thought of myself as a really good athlete. So to be able to sit up there with the best is a wonderful feeling.” Spicer wasn’t always this athletic. When her dad died from leukemia eighteen years ago, and after Spicer became a grandma, she decided she needed to change things. “I was smoking at the time and I decided that I needed to give up the cigarettes. I started to run around the outside of my house, because I was a bit embarrassed to run down the street. I’d do seven laps around the house which was a kilometer. I remember thinking that I couldn’t do this.”
Spicer received all the support she could wish for from her partner – Trout Wayth – who had already completed several marathons at the time. When Spicer finished her first Ironman at the age of 47, she knew this was going to be her new lifestyle. “I started to cry at the finish line because I couldn’t believe what I had done. I was the fittest I had ever been in my life.” Now, Spicer has ticked off 25 long-distance races.
She regularly did races together with Wayth, but eight years ago it seemed like that was going to change, as Wayth was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite that, he stayed active: “Trout looks after himself very well. He’s had leukemia for eight years now. He doesn’t drink or smoke and because of his good health he is living a good life. You wouldn’t know that he has cancer.”
Spicer hopes she can inspire other people to get active too. It doesn’t matter at what level: “You don’t have to run it, you can walk it. You don’t have to be a Steve Moneghetti (Australian long distance runner), you just need to move.”