Jesse Thomas broke a bone in his foot a year ago as he came down the last downhill on his way to winning his third consecutive Wildflower Triathlon. He was excited to win, but he was bummed knowing that he would be laid up for a while. ‘A while’ turned into a full year, and, with his nearly one-year old son, Jude, and his wife, Lauren, there with him, Thomas returned to Wildflower to become the first triathlete to win four Wildflower titles in a row. Jesse came on to chat about the emotions he dealt with over this past year and how he thought numerous times that his career just might be over.
In this wide-ranging interview with Andrew Messick, on the three year anniversary of becoming the CEO of Ironman, we covered everything from his time with the NBA and AEG, Lance Armstrong, the globalization of the Ironman brand, and what he feels is his greatest accomplishment so far.
John Maclean was training to do a triathlon 26 years ago when he was hit by a truck while cycling and paralyzed from the waist down. John became, on his third attempt, the first handcycle athlete to finish the Ironman Triathlon World championship under all of the cut off times in 1997. He moved on from the Ironman and swam the English Channel, sailed in the infamous Sydney to Hobart race and competed in the Paralympics in rowing. Due to a new therapy technique, John is now able to walk the beach with his wife and son -check out 60 Minutes Australia for the unbelievable story- and his plan now is to race that same triathlon he was training for when he was paralyzed 26 years ago.
Ryan Hall was the first American runner to go under an hour for the half marathon (59:43), has gone 2:04:58 at Boston, and is a two-time Olympian. When Meb Keflezighi broke away from the field in Boston last week, Ryan became the patron of the peloton to help keep the American runners in the chase pack from helping to close the gap. Ryan, as always, was a great interview as we discussed Boston, his time training in Ethiopia, and his plans for the rest of 2014.
Monika Allen was running the 2014 LA Marathon in her Wonder Woman top and one of the tutus that she makes for her company, Glam Runner, to benefit a great charity called Girls on the Run. The editors from Self Magazine used an image of Monika and her friend, who was also wearing a tutu plus a Super Girl top, and the copy that ran with the photo called BS on what they called their “Selfy guide to what’s legit and what’s lame this month.” What the folks at Self did not know was that Monika was dealing with brain cancer and was running the marathon while she was going through chemotherapy. The public was outraged with Self. Monika came on our show to chat about the firestorm, about her health now and her plans to do more marathons plus a few triathlons this summer.
Katie Hursey was in San Diego traveling with her sponsor, Coeur Sports, and her boyfriend and fellow pro triathlete Tommy Zaferes. Neither got into the sport of triathlon until the end of their college careers, but both are now serious contenders to make the U.S. Olympic Triathlon team in 2016.
Five-time Ironman champion Heather Wurtele has started off 2014 with two big wins. We chatted with the Canadian about living in and traveling to races in a motor home with her husband and fellow-pro triathlete, Trevor, her goals for 2014, and how squirrels actually disabled their vehicle!