What do you call a 50-year-old man who beats every female professional and all but 11 age groupers on one of the toughest half-iron courses in the world? You call him whatever he wants. And so we await direction from Houston Racing member, Roger Wacker, concerning the name he prefers. Perhaps simply, “The Man.”
Roger qualified for the Ironman World Championships at Ironman California 70.3 in April, but why coast into Kona? On June 28, Roger competed at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake in Lubbock. Roger turned in a sterling 4:31:25 performance to win the Grandmasters title, swimming 1.2 miles in 29:22, biking 56 miles in 2:22:57. and running a hilly half marathon in 1:35:27.
Very few of us can imagine Roger’s disappointment in being passed by professional athletes young enough to be his offspring. Really. We can’t imagine it because we’ve never ever bridged up to professionals on the race course. Roger has. Roger’s swim time beat 10 male professional athletes’ times. His bike time, 8th fastest among all age groupers at an average pace of 23.5 miles per hour, beat 8 male professionals, including multiple Ironman champion, Cameron Brown. And his run time, 7:19 pace, found Roger being edged out by a 30 year old and a professional female.
Of the age groupers to beat Roger, the youngest was born when Roger was 31 years old. That 19 year old athlete only beat Roger by 2 minutes, 21 seconds. The oldest age grouper to edge him out, a 45 year old, only nipped him by 29 seconds. The nearest female professional was more than two minutes in arrears and his nearest age group competitor was twelve and a half minutes back. Indeed, Roger’s time would have placed him second among men 30-34 and third among men 18 to 24–that is, it would have if he had not been born during the Eisenhower administration.
Hearty congratulations to Roger Wacker for a superior race result judged by any standard.