James Lawrence has just put his body through more pain than anyone should ever endure.
JAMES Lawrence. Sounds like an ordinary name for an ordinary guy, but what he’s just done is anything but ordinary.
The American set a new world record on Saturday when he completed his 50th full course ironman triathlon across 50 states in 50 days.
That’s right. 50 triathlons. 50 states. 50 days.
The father-of-four achieved the mammoth task when he crossed the finish line at the Electric Park in Lehi in his home state of Florida on Saturday afternoon. Dubbed “The Iron Cowboy”, Lawrence has been punishing himself by swimming nearly 4km, cycling 180km and then running 42km everyday for the past 50 days.
What possessed him to even attempt, let even finish, such an arduous task? Easy. His kids.
“It’s for my children. Everything I do, I do for them. I try to set examples for them. I try to set big goals and accomplish them,” Lawrence said. “I want to be around for them as long as I can, and this is my motivation to get up and do those things.”
The man from Lindon embarked on his adventure to raise awareness about child obesity in the US, wanting to highlight the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. He also raised money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, an organisation led by the professional chef that works in schools to provide people with better access to food education.
The Iron Cowboy
“There is a massive epidemic in this country. We’re obese, and it’s a problem. We need to make some serious changes in our lives,” said Lawrence. “We need to change the way we eat, we need to change our activity levels, and we need to change our lifestyles.”
Lawrence began his mission on June 6 in Hawaii, but he hasn’t always been racing solo. Each leg of his triathlons have been open for people to join, with more and more members of the public tagging along as his journey progressed.
“The crowds are getting bigger, donations keep coming in,” Lawrence said. “The support has been overwhelming and makes things a lot easier. It has far exceeded my expectations.”
As amazing as his achievement is, this isn’t even Lawrence’s first world record. It’s his third.
Before his most recent accomplishment, he held the record for the most ironman races completed in a year (22 in 30 weeks in 2010), and one for the most ultra-distance triathlons in one year (30 in 2012).