NEW YORK (CBS 2) — From rock bands and cigarettes to elite athlete. A New Jersey man is doing all he can to postpone senior citizen status and proving that you’re never too old to go the distance.

Dedication and determination have taken 60-year-old Dan Molloy quite far. He is about to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime — representing the United States in the World Short Course Triathlon championships in Beijing, China.

“I have to say, I do enjoy passing people that are in their 20’s and 30’s,” Molloy told CBS 2’s Sam Ryan. “When I was young and people would blow by me, so now, it’s my turn and I know it drives them crazy, but it’s fun.”

Molloy is fairly new to the triathlon scene. He competed in his first one just four years ago in Long Branch, New Jersey. Since then, he has been hooked.

“Alright, you’re going to swim in the Atlantic Ocean through the waves in 52-degree water. It was exhilarating, my hands and feet were numb, but when I got out and got completed with it, I felt so great,” he said.

As a former smoker, Molloy would finish 2 to 3 packs of cigarettes a day in his 20’s and into his 30’s. He was not exactly the likeliest of candidates for world-class triathlete.

“I was working construction and I got a hernia. Picture this, here I am sitting on the couch in my bathrobe with stitches. I go and I reach over and I stick a cigarette out in a big ash tray and I could see myself at that moment and I just said ‘this is it, that’s it — I’m done. I have to quit,'” Molloy said.

Molloy said after that experience, he put the cigarette out, laced up his running shoes and “hobbled around the block.”

“I became a runner at that instant,” Molloy said.

It was quite a turnaround for the man who used to get a thrill performing on stage as an Eric Clapton impersonator. Now, he has found a new stage for his body to perform.

So what has Molloy learned about himself through his remarkable transformation?

“I think it’s about being human and that all of us can do much more than we think,” Molloy said.

Inspired By This Story?  Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Section…

Watch & Listen LIVE