October 24, 2010

Meet the MAMILS

It seems that the older I get the more people I know who compete in marathons and triathlons. And while that might just mean that I now associate more with athletes than in my twenties (which I doubt), there is also a general trend of forty-something men (and women) turning towards triathlons as their preferred sport. The New York Times reports today that
The sport has exploded by 51 percent since 2007, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, and men in their 40s are one of the fastest growing segments in the sport, accounting for one-third of the 1.2 million triathletes.
The phenomenon is so popular that there's even a word for these "generation of athletic, type-A men who are entering middle age and trying to hold on to their youth through triathlons": They're mamils ('middle-age men in Lycra').  According to Urban Dictionary, the term was created by Michael Oliver, a senior analyst for the British market research company Mintel, and it caught on right away. Mintel's report describes mamils as "the noughties version of the mid-life crisis." Well, I guess an expensive bike and high-end spandex gear are still a lot cheaper than a Porsche convertible. Just make sure that you won't get chicked at the next race (beaten by a woman), it might take away some of the type-A fun.

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