Swim Club Member Karin Bivens a Multi-Sport Champion

Karin Bivens

Miles Bivens

I’m 12 years old now, but ever since I can remember, my grandma has been a champion athlete. Grandma Karin became a member of the SaddleBrooke Swim Club when it first formed, under Coach Doug Springer, in order to train for Ironman triathlon competitions, which are comprised of three events: swimming, biking, and running.

But her sporting career really took off when she turned 50 years old and decided to run a marathon. After some serious training, she competed in her first marathon through the Redwoods in Humboldt County, Calif., and promptly qualified for the Boston Marathon with her race time. The next few years resulted in winning a number of various distance running races and completing more of the top marathons, such as New York, Boston, London, and Bordeaux, France, and even a half marathon up Pikes Peak in Colorado.

Grandma Karin then took up the sport of triathlon while living in the Bay Area of San Francisco. She joined Team In Training, a group devoted to fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She competed in a number of Olympic distance and Half Ironman triathlons, such as the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in which competitors have to swim from the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay to the coast of the city (approximately a 1.5-mile distance) in swift tides and water temperatures in the 50s F. She has finished the Escape triathlon five times.

Then Grandma Karin (now almost 60) decided to challenge herself further by competing in Ironman (IM) distance triathlons. That distance consists of a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike, followed by a marathon run. She has finished 10 IMs in such exotic locales as New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, and multiple times (five) in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The championships in Kona are the “big dance” where you must qualify by winning an entry slot from competition in other IM races; thus, all the Pros and Elite age group competitors are there. Grandma Karin has finished five Hawaiian IMs and finished third in her age group in 2009.

She has also swum in many Masters swim races for the SaddleBrooke Swim Club, where she has won her age group in various events, and also was named three times an All-American on SaddleBrooke Relay teams. But her multisport credentials also include duathlons, which generally consist of a 10-kilometer run, followed by a 40-kilometer bike, and then a 5-kilometer run. Grandma Karin has raced in many duathlons, becoming a U.S. National Champion in her age group twice, and racing with the U.S. Duathlon team in the World Championships in Nancy, France, in 2012. She continues to race, having won her age group in the Oro Valley Triathlon last March and having signed up for the race again this March.

My grandma is a true multisport champion.