So, this week's article marks the first week in a two-week series (is two weeks even long enough for this to be a series? I'll let you be the judge) on women in sport who multitask well. Or really, really well.
Case in point is 75-year old weightlifting champion Ernestine Shepherd, who spends her time being a weightlifting champion, AND being 75 years old (see! Multitasking!). How can this be, I hear you ask (hypothetically)? By being awesome! And by training. Since the tender age of 56, when Mrs. Shepherd and her sister decided that swimsuits were about go from being their greatest enemies to best friends, they joined a gym and the rest is history (how late is too late to start? Clearly not 56, ladies).
Ernestine, or Ernie as we'll call her, and her sister Mildred started training regularly until Mildred turned to her one day at the gym and said "If something were to happen to me, I want you to continue with exercising". Soon afterwards, Mildred died of a brain aneurism.
The devastation of her sister's death kept Ernie from the gym until a good friend encouraged her to continue, as Mildred would have wanted. Mildred's dream of getting in shape and inspiring others to do the same became Ernie's driving force, and at 72 she met bodybuilding champion Yohnnie Shambourger. With simple boldness, Ernie asked the former Mr Universe if he would train her as a bodybuilder, and he acquiesced. Seven months later she won first place in her first competition. 2010 saw her fulfil her sister's vision of them winning a Guinness World Record, when Ernie won the title of World's Oldest Performing Female BodyBuilder. And in the four years since she started running, Ernie has competed in nine marathons.
The unwavering resolution Ernie displays in bodybuilding is matched in other areas. She gets up at 4am to train, running up to 80 miles per week. She trains other seniors 4 or 5 times a week. She is writing a book. The woman is a dynamo! According to Mrs Shepherd, "I am a very determined, dedicated and disciplined lady". You said it, Ernie. And I think you should add 'delightful' to that list.
This week's champion multitasker Ernestine Shepherd has been married to her husband Collins for 54 years (that's right, no multitasking in marriage!). For more on her story, visit vitality.yahoo.com, and tune in next week for the second and final instalment of this two-week-long series on the wonderful multitasking women of sport.