An 86-Year-Old Nun & Ironman Competitor Is Nike’s Latest Star

An 86-Year-Old Nun & Ironman Competitor Is Nike’s Latest Star

Nike’s latest installment of the Unlimited Campaign profiles an 86-year-old nun Sister Madonna Buder, who has competed in over 40 Ironman races.

ERIN MARY Doyle
Posted by ERIN MARY Doyle

Sister Buder (who has earned the nickname “The Iron Nun”) completed her first Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii in 1985, at the age 65. At 75, the American nun became the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman triathlon. At 82, she set a world record as the oldest Ironman triathlon competitor.

Today, at 86 years old, she has completed over 40 Ironman races, each comprising of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.

“You carry your attitude with you,” Sister Buder said in a Nike press release. “You either achieve or you self-destruct. If you think positively, you can even turn a negative into a positive.” Along with this spiritual guidance, she imparts simple, yet easily applicable performance advice to younger athletes: “One step at a time makes a marathon.”

The spot is by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and directed by Max Malkin at Prettybird.

Last week, Nike released an ‘Unlimited’ spot starring Chris Mosier, the first openly trans athlete to earn a spot on a U.S. national team. Mosier, a triathlete and duathlete, has qualified for the U.S. Men’s long-course duathlon.

Nike also made a behind-the-scenes film: