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AARP AARP States Florida

The Way of the Warrior: AARP Sponsors Wisdom Warrior Challenge

Senior woman holding water bottle while running with mature man

Many AARP members are proving that retirement is not about slowing down but a rallying cry to stay active, engaged and connected through friendly battles of wit, agility, and exercise…all with a dash of humor.

That is where the Wisdom Warrior Challenge steps in to provide a one-of-a kind initiative celebrating the vibrant minds and unstoppable spirits of our members by unleashing the power of senior wit and wellness.

The Wisdom Warrior Challenge is not only an opportunity for older adults from the ages of 50 to 105 years old to showcase their vibrancy and energy but also a chance for seniors to get active and socialize while dispelling the myth that aging means settling into a sentient lifestyle.

The Wisdom Warrior Challenge began with humble roots in 2019 - a group of 19 seniors training together for a local 5k race - and five years later, the initiative has more than 1,000 participants across the country and is supported by major sponsors such as AARP.

“I created WWC in 2019 to dispel myths about aging and the limitations that follow this narrative,” said AARP volunteer and Wisdom Warrior Challenge founder Linda Borgmeyer. “We have much more control over how we age, and making better choices for our physical and emotional health enhances the golden years."

Last year’s event featured 10 times as many participants and observers as the inaugural event, and the 2024 Challenge includes over 20 communities across the nation.

Inclusivity is foundational to the Challenge and older Floridians of all capabilities are encouraged to participate with divisions for those using walking assistance and wheelchairs for mobility. The qualification for the Wisdom Warrior Challenge requires nothing more than being 50+ and being able to repeat the statement, “Age is just a number, and I am so much more than a number!”

Economic inclusivity is also vital to the initiative. The average sign-up fee for a 5k runs anywhere between $35-$50 and special event races can cost up to $100 just to sign up.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors like AARP, The Wisdom Warrior Challenge is completely free and accessible to all - especially seniors on a fixed income. In addition to the chance to compete and train in a year-long program to get them prepared for the big event, participants also receive swag bags stuffed with apparel, water bottles and a medal in recognition for their efforts. A livestreamed recognition ceremony hosted after the event gives participants a chance to share their victory with loved ones across the world.

Sharing the accolades and the stories behind the participants is one of Borgmeyer’s favorite things about the Challenge.

“I look forward to sharing the stories of unlimited potential and empowerment,” she said.


One such story is that of Louis “Louie” Ricci.

Ninety-year-old Louie competed in the 2023 and placed in first in his age group.
“He had dementia, but he remembered this moment and it was all he talked about. He said he got a medal and everyone was treating him like a celebrity,” his daughter Brenda Ricci Terlizzi shared. “He talked about it for days and wore the medal every day.”

Louis passed away in October 2023 and his accomplishments are remembered by his loved ones.

“The athletes added a new dimension to their version of aging,” Borgmeyer said. “It was inspirational and the effect was lasting.”

The 2024 Wisdom Warrior Challenge starts in March and goes through April. There is still time to sign up and interested seniors can do so at the Wisdom Warrior Challenge website.

For more information, please contact Wisdom Warrior Challenge online or via email at or by calling 561-202-7650.

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