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 iron3What it’s all about


By any measure, participating in an Ironman competition (a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles of biking, and a 26.2 mile run) is a great accomplishment. Finishing fifty Ironman competitions in fifty states in fifty consecutive days goes beyond great. This morning, we came face to face with greatness. Or, at least, its mobile home.

iron cowboy 14Shore Park, Worcester, MA

James Lawrence, better known as The Iron Cowboy, is over halfway through the 50/50/50 undertaking described above. Lawrence, a 39-year-old Utah resident with a wife and five children, is trying to raise awareness for childhood obesity. He is a Guinness World Record holder for completing the most Ironman competitions in a year (30).


Prior to reaching Massachusetts, the tour was not without its highlights. In Tennessee, Lawrence was so fatigued he fell asleep during the bike ride and crashed injuring his left forearm, wrist, hip and back but was able to continue.

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He has had pedals fall off and dealt with ongoing hammer toe and fungus issues.

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He has battled constant aches and pains with massage, cold laser, acupuncture and other treatments.

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The weather has been so bad in some places that he has done portions or even all of the Ironman indoors.

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And so there we were, with the mist (or maybe chemical vapors) rising off of Indian Lake hoping to catch a glimpse of the Iron Cowboy. The original plan was for the swim to start between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. but a rogue Massachusetts Group Facebook post erroneously reported it had been pushed up to 6:00.

We finished our workouts at 6:15 and wandered over to a parking lot adjacent to the YMCA. There was a van, a trailer full of bicycles, a chase car, and an RV bedecked with logos of the Iron Cowboy’s many sponsors. We got close enough to the RV to touch it, but there was no activity anywhere. I don’t know what we were expecting. The smell of bacon frying? The angry whir of a blender, whipping up a pre-race smoothie?

iron cowboy at shore parkiron6As with most states, the Indian Lake swim started around 7:15
and the 5k was well attended in MA

I think we expected to see him stretching or splashing some lake water onto his wet suit. Maybe him chatting amiably with a local news team, of which there were none. Possibly one of his “wingmen”, sizing up the lake or pumping air into bike tires. We may actually have seen one of the wingmen off in the distance but we can’t be sure. It could have been a townie.

 iron cb3iron cb1 The Wingman, providing crucial support and comic relief

So, with nothing to see, we returned to the Y to shower and move on with our lives. And that’s what bothers me about this whole thing. This is the exercising equivalent of a meteor striking earth. Once he gets that thirty-first Ironman under his belt, every day will be a new record. So where is the excitement? Why isn’t every tv news van in the state lining Shore Drive? Why aren’t Chris Christie or Ted Cruz swimming a few laps or jogging a few miles just to get a photo op with the Iron Cowboy?

iron cowboy1Reflecting…

Maybe we just don’t get it. But that should take nothing away from the amazing feat that James Lawrence will surely complete later this month or the cause he’s competing for. You can learn more about the Iron Cowboy at ironcowboy.co or facebook.com/ironcowboy.

iron13May 8, 2015, one month prior to 50/50/50

iron cowboy2July 6, 2015

A bit of a change in the physique and still going strong!

You don’t have to perform feats of this magnitude to make a difference in your life or in the lives of others. What is your story? Please leave a comment…