When you can’t take your jersey off…

2017 has been a year to remember for Donn and Anne Viviani! Racing numerous National and World Championship events, their medal tally has grown once again. These incredibly fit grandparents and long time Solvang camp athletes, are continuing to prove that life only gets better!

We had the honor of catching up with Donn after the National Aquathlon Championships which were held in Austin, TX, October 1st, where Donn actually found some clothing he can keep on! 🙂

Donn Viviani collects his first national title!! Pictured here with wife Anne.

1. Got to ask, how does it feel to be National Champion?

Donn in the lead at the National Aquathlon race

Actually someone has to be… first is no more unique than third or any other number, it’s the tyranny of ordinal progression!

The big deal for me this year was actually at world’s back in August when they announced as I crossed the line… “bronze medal winner, Donn Viviani from the USA” because I had no idea where I was at worlds so it was a surprise…

there were a lot of competitors and I thought I was second out of the water, but not sure.
Then I had a problem w/ my wet suit and my fellow age group competitor Bob Plant passed me in transition, he went on to win. I tried to keep him in sight, but I hadn’t done any speed work at all so I had no speed. (Annie and I only trained for the 18 mile run in the long distance triathlon at worlds, our shortest training run was 10 miles of hills, most were 12-14 miles).
Donn Viviani wins the 2017 National Aquathlon Championships 70-74 years, by 12 seconds!
2. So how did the race unfold, were you nervous to be racing a US guy who was World Champion in your division?
I thought I could win, I’m not as fast a runner as the fastest runner, or as fast a swimmer as the fastest swimmer, but I’m a faster  runner than the fastest swimmer and a faster swimmer than the fastest runner….so my mediocrity prevailed!
Donn having time for a Fonz impression!

As I said before, it was a time trial start so I let Bob, the world champion who I raced in August, go off about 40 seconds before me. I figured I’d pass him in the swim and then when he passed me on the run I’d try to keep him closer than 40 sec. As it turned out he passed with just 1/2 mile to go and I just pulled in behind him, he started laughing about quarter mile out and said… “you got me,” he’s a really nice guy. We crossed the finish line a second apart!

3. Last we spoke, it had been a week since you were crowned National Champ and you were still wearing the jersey. Aside from the jalfrzy sauce from an indian restaurant, how’s the jersey holding up?


It’s getting pretty smelly…  soon it will be a decision as to whether Annie and I can continue to live together. I’ll miss her, but she’ll meet someone else, less smelly.


4. You have been racing endurance sports for years, do you have a count on how many races you have done? What keeps you motivated to race?
Donn and Anne Viviani sporting their favorite attire!
No… I know Annie’s done 40 worlds if you include kona, and I’ve done 20. So we’ve had to qualify at a national for each, plus qualify for national in tri. We used to do a dozen or more races a year, back when it was $25-30/race. Now we just do nationals and worlds, which can be a many as 8 (long and short tri, duathlon, aquathlon).  We do a local race in florida to start the season. Maybe Annie’s done 200-300 and I’ve done 30 or so less?
Annie and I actually enjoy training. We love going on long runs together, same with biking. I love to swim and so does she, we’re probably endorphin junkies!


5. If you had one piece of advice to give to someone who was debating starting endurance sports, what would it be?
Make sure your Mom had good mitochondria.


STC – Thank you Donn – you guys are always an inspiration and fun. We hope to see ‘the jersey’ in Solvang next year! Oh and in case you need, there is a laundromat in Solvang… just saying! 🙂