SaddleBrooke Swim Club Member Karen Bivens a Multi-Sport Champion | Sports
I’m 12 years old now, but my grandmother has been a top athlete for as long as I can remember. Grandma Karin has been a member of the SaddleBrooke Swim Club since it was formed in the HOA-1 pool under Coach Doug Springer. And it was in those early years that she took up competitive swimming as part of her training for triathlons, which consisted of the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.
But her sporting career really took off when, at the age of 50, she decided to run a marathon. After intense training, she ran her first marathon through the redwoods of Humboldt County, California, and her race time promptly qualified for the Boston Marathon. Over the next few years he won a number of different distance runs and completed other top marathons such as New York, Boston, London, Bordeaux, France, and even a half marathon on Pikes Peak in Colorado.
Grandma Karin then took up triathlon while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She joined Team In Training, a group dedicated to fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her first competitive swim was in an Olympic distance triathlon held on the bay near Monterey, California. The swim was known as the Kelp Crawl because there was so much kelp growing in the bay and swimmers had to swim up and over the kelp to avoid getting tangled. The successful completion of this triathlon led to many other triathlon competitions, such as the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, in which participants must swim from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to the city’s shoreline (approximately a distance of 1. 5 miles). ) with fast tides and water temperatures in the 50s. She has completed the “Ëscape” triathlon five times.
Then Grandma Karin (now almost 60) decided to challenge herself even further by competing in triathlons over the Ironman distance. This distance consists of a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride followed by a marathon run. Her training was tremendous, and after moving to SaddleBrooke, she traveled to New Zealand to complete her first Ironman triathlon, where she swam beautiful (but cold) Lake Taupo on the North Island. Then followed a series of other Ironman competitions (10 in total) in the exotic locations of Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil and several times (5) at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The swim in each of these races was unique. For example, the swim at Ironman Switzerland was in beautiful Lake Zurich and involved swimming around an island, exiting the water, running across an island and re-entering the lake to finish the swim.
But of course, the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii is the “big dance” where you have to qualify by winning a spot from competitions in other IM races, and thus all participants are in the Pro and Elite age groups there. Grandma Karin competed in the famous 2006 Ironman World Championships on October 21, 2006, a week after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Hawaiian Islands. The 2.4 mile swim was in choppy water and extremely difficult, but she finished that race as well as four other Ironman World Championships and notably finished third in her age group at the 2009 World Championships.
She has also swum many Masters swim events for the SaddleBrooke Swim Club, winning her age group at various events, and has also been named All American on the SaddleBrooke relay teams three times. However, their multisport credentials also include duathlons, which generally consist of a 10km run followed by a 40km bike ride and a fivekm run. Grandma Karin has competed in many duathlons, was twice US National Champion in her age group and competed with the US Duathlon Team at the 2012 World Championships in Nancy, France. She continues to race after winning her age group in the Oro Valley Triathlon last March and after I re-entered the race this March.
My grandma is a true multisport champion.