Persistence Pays Off: The Lew Hollander Story

Shining Through: Achieving health and longevity through exercise are not new concepts. However, Lew Hollander, 92, is a perfect example of how health and longevity work in conjunction with daily, intelligent exercise.

Part of the key for Lew, of Florence, Oregon is that he loves what he does. He loves getting out there, swimming in the lakes and the rivers and the oceans. He’s cycled through powerful wind, rain and everything else nature can throw at him. And he’s run in every condition possible. Because for him to compete is to complete.

Lew appears to be a phenomena. He says he looks around and can’t understand why other people can’t do what he does. Lew has become a face and a leader in the senior health movement, and for health in general. He works out everyday, he pushes it and his body has responded by saying ‘let’s do this again. And again. And again.’

Lew Hollander cycling on a road in the rain.

Lew’s message about health comes across clear and easy. It’s not complicated. Exercise daily and you will feel better. Whatever level you aspire to. It’s not complicated. Don’t quit. Persist. The rewards are powerful.

Last summer Lew completed three sprint triathlons around the Pacific Northwest, among other things, and concluded with the Portland Half Marathon. Throughout his amazing career he has raced all over the world, in all types of conditions.

This summer found him dipping into freezing water to swim on at least two occasions, and racing in the rain.

Lew Hollander swimming in a lake surrounded by a foggy forest.

“It’s just what I do,” he says simply. Lew will race around Oregon this summer in 5k’s and sprint triathlons. He plans on being an active participant at the Oregon Senior Games, where he is a known competitor. His discipline of choice is running track but he may be tempted to dip a toe into a couple of other events and possibly the Oregon Senior Games Table Tennis.

This low-key, unassuming guy is in fact an internationally known senior triathlete. Prior to that he became a legend in the world of endurance riding and ride and tie. He is, in fact, in the American Endurance Riding Hall of Fame and has written a classic book on successful endurance riding.

Besides that, he’s an accomplished scientist, physicist, inventor, writer and family man. He’s got an amazing sense of humor, and the accolades roll right off him. But he does take health seriously and began studying the best way to be healthy early on.

Lew has a no bubble-wrap philosophy. He is an Ironman of considerable repute, and so the fact that he is doing shorter races has had some interesting trade-offs. He’s not really tired after the 5k races and the sprint triathlons. He appreciates the fact that when he gets out of bed in the morning he feels good.

Lew Hollander standing next to a large wall of medals.

Contrary to what one might think, after all his adventures, he doesn’t hurt.

When Lew talks about the places he competes at it ends up sounding like one long love affair. The friends, the outdoors, the benefits of exercise, and just being alive. “I’m not old yet,” he says. So, he just keeps shining through, spreading that inspirational light. His wife Karen shares many of his adventures with him and continues to provide support and encouragement.

Redmond author Dana Burnett released a book with Lew last year which chronicles many of his adventures, achievements and philosophies: Use It Or Lose It Pathways to Healthy Living (Amazon/Dana Burnett).

Lew Hollander biking and running at the 2004 Hawaii Ironman.

Article by Dana Burnett. Photos provided by Dana Burnett.