Century Club Spotlight Archive
Name: Tony Handler
Category: Triathlon — 100
What is your occupation?
Retired since 2003. Worked for IBM for 40 years.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
My beautiful wife and I have been married for 53 years. We have three sons and five grandchildren.
When did you begin you multisport career and what made you decide to start racing multisport events?
In 1983 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and while in the hospital I saw an Ironman on TV and decided that if I got through that, I would use triathlons to fight my diagnosis. So in 1985, I did my first tri and have since done 272 more including two Ironmans, six Ironman 70.3, and the rest sprint- and Olympic-distance races.
What have you learned from your participation in multisport events?
That there is no better way to get your body in great physical shape and to meet many new people who feel the same way.
Has your participation in multisport events helped you overcome any challenges? If so, what?
Since my first cancer diagnosis in 1983 until today, I have had eight battles with six different types of cancer resulting in 17 surgeries. I currently (and for the last 11 years) get a monthly chemo injection. I truly believe that doing the 273 triathlons has helped me both physically and mentally overcome all those challenges.
What is something you can't race without?
My belief that in each race that I cross the finish line, I have won another personal battle with cancer.
Do you have a bucket list race? If so, what race?
Not really. I have done so many different races that I am satisfied with those. My favorite is St. Anthony's in St. Petersburg, Fla.
What is one of your favorite race memories or experiences?
My favorite race memory/experience is crossing the finish line at my first Ironman at age 61. The feeling of that accomplishment is one that is hard to forget. Another memory from that same race was seeing another participant getting his wetsuit pulled off at the end of the swim and realizing that he forgot to put a bathing suit on under it. It was a riot watching him run to the bike transition with his wetsuit wrapped around his butt.
What is a goal you would like to accomplish one day?
I have three goals. The first is to do an Ironman 70.3 for each birthday in my 70s. I have the first five (70 to 74) under my belt and have already signed up for my 75th birthday event. The second is to surpass 350 triathlons. (I average nine or 10 a year). The third is to do a triathlon for my 90th birthday. Hopefully this old body will cooperate.