Aging Up, Not Out
April 25, 2022
Carol Shilepsky Continues Exceeding Expectations
Charleston, South Carolina (April 25, 2022)/SPORTSWIRE WOMEN/ – Most of the time people hear the word triathlon and think, “WHY?”. Most of the time they also equate any triathlon with an Ironman distance – the longest distance of triathlons (until you get into ultra distances and we’re not going there in this article). But triathlons vary in distances AND triathletes also vary in age and athletic experience.
Carol Shilepsky is proof of this. While she started running in her mid 30’s, Carol did not cross the finish line of her first triathlon until she was in her mid 70’s. She’d been intrigued but could never quite get herself to toe the line of other events, for various reasons, until she found out about the She Tris Sprint Triathlon. At 74, she took part in her first sprint triathlon and 4 years later she’s still coming back for each start line that She Tris organizes.
A sprint triathlon is the shortest of the primary triathlon distances, and for most of She Tris’ events, this means a 200-250 yard swim, a 8 or 9 mile bike ride, followed by a 2-3 mile run, with the distances dependent and slightly varying for each course.
“We find the sprint distance very approachable for our participants. Some come back to it every year. Some go on to longer distances. It really depends on the woman and her goals. The most important thing is they are taking this time to focus on themselves, building confidence, and lifting up other women along the way”, says She Tris founder and Champion of Confidence, Angela Klick. Klick founded She Tris in 2015, with the first event taking place in June of 2016. Now the series has expanded to 3 local events, some virtual, and the team plans to grow beyond the Charleson area.
“The environment at our events is unlike anything else. We have volunteers who return each year because they can’t get enough of the positivity and goodness that comes out at our triathlons. You see women like Carol who are not career triathletes out on the course cheering on other women, and being cheered on herself by her fan club and her adoring husband who follows her along the course all morning.”
Carol is used to exceeding expectations, though. Long before she found triathlon, and even before becoming a runner, Carol pursued a career in math and computer science when women weren’t exactly invited to study those careers. While she’s not one for the spotlight she is well aware that pursuing her at times unconventional goals can inspire the next wave of women. At 78, she’s certainly doing that.
Now that Carol has a few triathlons under her belt, she’s seen benefits from the training and found some gains. She’s improved her swim stroke with her daughter’s guidance. She’s worked on her breathing technique for running. And she gets her bike rides on less trafficked roads. Her goal, however, is to go out, have fun, and recruit more women into the sport.
“I am amazed at the organization that goes into making She Tris work so well. I love being part of the crowd and meeting the women who have the inner strength and determination to complete an event,” Carol says. “I would like to see more older women and am trying to recruit, but it is also exciting to see a 50-year-old become an athlete, maybe for the first time in her life. I will hang around as long as I can finish before the course is shut down, not for my ego, but to remind the 50-year old she can do this for another 30 years.”
If you want to join Carol this year, She Tris has scheduled three in-person events this year: May 21 at the I’On Club in Mount Pleasant, August 20 at Hamlin in Mount Pleasant and September 24 at Carnes Crossroads in Summerville. There is a virtual option for each of the events. Registration is open at shetris.com/upcoming-events.
Champion of Enthusiasm