Older Athletes in Malibu Continue to Excel, Compete

Claire McCarty

Members of the Malibu community find ways to use local trails, surf and gyms to stay fit. But from where does the motivation to get up and get out come? The Malibu Times talked with four athletes, ranging in age from their 50s to 70s, about how they started working out and what keeps them motivated to continue.

Chris Frost

Chris Frost, a 64-year-old Malibu Realtor, has run in races across the globe, including Australia, Chile, Easter Island, Tahiti and the Sahara Desert in Egypt. The self-described “adventure athlete” said he has always enjoyed marathons and triathlons that take him to the harshest of terrain. 

“I like doing things that have an element of adventure to them,” he said. “The race in Egypt was 150 miles. That was a blast.”

Frost said another inspiration that keeps him on the running path is his girlfriend of two years, 59-year-old Simi Valley resident Wendy Young. 

“She survived cancer and she is an amazing athlete,” he said. “She has managed to persevere.” 

Frost and Young completed the 100-mile Keys 100 ultramarathon in the Florida Keys together last May in 31 hours, 20 minutes. 

Frost has participated in endurance athletics since he was 15 years old.

A crowning achievement of Frost’s running life was participating in the Badwater Ultramarathon. The 135-mile course features running from the desert heat of Death Valley below sea level to Whitney Portal at 8,300 feet.

Frost has participated in the grueling event 11 times since 2002 and completed it nine times, including several times in his 50s. 

Frost said when training, he focuses on being physically fit.

“A lot of guys concentrate on just being faster, but I focus on being in the best shape,” he said. “When your legs go to crap, you better know how to walk.”

Frost attempted to complete Badwater a 10th time in July, but said health problems kept him from doing so. He is now focusing on 50- and 100-mile events.

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis, 60, can be found in the gym three to four mornings per week. The Malibu High School surf coach lifts weights to stay in shape and to prepare to catch his next wave. 

Lewis, the winner of the 2014 Malibu Invitational 58-year-old-plus surfing division, says he hits the Pacific waters waves often.

“I love surfing,” Lewis said. “I take it seriously; I stay in shape. I’m still pushing myself to get better.” 

Lewis has spent a large portion of his life catching waves up and down the California coastline and beyond. That led to a three-year span as a professional surfer in the 1970s, and him snagging some surfing championships in his 40s and 50s, beginning with a National Scholastic Surfing Association championship in 1998.

“[Surfing] keeps my mind physically fit,” he said. “There is a spiritualism about it. I keep myself physically fit to be able to surf.

“Even if I have trouble standing up I will figure out some way to get in the water and ride the wave.”

Claire McCarty

Claire McCarty, 59, has been involved with endurance sports for 36 years. The Malibu native has participated in triathlons and Ironman competitions, and has been a professional triathlete in Australia since 1979. 

McCarty started her sports life with volleyball and played at UCLA from 1975 to 1979. She began participating in endurance sports when she heard about some friends’ experiences competing in the 1979 Hawaiian Ironman. The personal trainer and fitness expert did her first triathlon — which includes swimming, biking and running — the next year. 

“I really had no idea what I was doing,” she said. “People really didn’t know how to train for all three events in one day back then.” 

McCarty said after training for a year, she came in fifth place in the women’s division of an event. She finished in the top tier in several triathlon events and placed in the top 10 of Ironman competitions. 

McCarty began focusing on competing in Olympic distance events — 1,500-meter swim, 25-mile bicycle race and 12-mile foot race. While living in Australia from 1989 to 2001, she placed in the top three of events so often that she was considered a professional. 

McCarty moved back to Malibu, but did not compete heavily in the sport because of an Achilles injury.

In 2013, she was off and running again. McCarty had the second fastest time of a Malibuite in her age group in the International Distance category of the Malibu Triathlon in September. 

She is ready to compete at a high level in the coming year.

“I might try a couple of local Olympic distance races and then do nationals and worlds because I really want the podium again for nationals and worlds,” she said. “The more I kept exceeding, the more I kept wanting to compete. It is hard to leave a sport when you are doing really well.” 

George Toberman

George Toberman has competed in five Ironman competitions, though he has not competed in one for about a decade. 

“It requires more training than I do now,” Toberman, who is in his 70s, said. “Every Sunday, I would do a 100-mile bike ride, and, of course, running and biking during the week.” 

Toberman still participates in other events, like the Catalina Island Triathlon. 

“It makes you feel good physically and makes you feel really good mentally,” he said. “You just feel good doing it. You can feel stress or whatever, but after you work out, you feel good. You sleep well at night.”