After traveling to every country in the world and breaking those two Guinness World Records, I couldn’t help but want to go after something fresh and new, while also feeding my travel and fitness yearning and positively enhancing the world we live in.
A bit of research led me to stumble on two Guinness World Records for;
‘Most Ironman 70.3’s Completed in Different Countries in a Year’
‘Most Ironman 70.3’s Completed in a Year’
In January of 2018, I began planning. Though this time, I had a lot on my plate when it came to managing my business and now, non-profit organization. I was a bit in over my head with securing sponsorship endorsement in the sport world, but I managed to procure some great brands that really helped me catapult this record attempt and make it a reality.
In January of this year (2019), I took off to my first race; Ironman 70.3 Buffalo City (South Africa) and from there, would race nearly consecutively, Ironman 70.3 Geelong (Australia), Ironman 70.3 Bangsaen (Thailand), Ironman 70.3 Muscat (Oman), and Ironman 70.3 Bariloche (Argentina), before calling it quits for that first segment. I was to race Ironman 70.3 Campeche (Mexico) the following weekend followed by Ironman 70.3 Davao (Philippines), but a foot and side hip injury left me needing to come home and recoup. Nevertheless, after this first round of races, I ended up shaving off 2 hours from my last 70.3 in August (Boulder), where I finished 8:16.
There are two things about this record that bother me though. Quick disclaimer; I am not a pro-triathlete and have never been a pro or elite athlete. Everything that I am saying is coming from your average age group triathlete.
I’m fed up first and foremost with the Ironman brand. I’ll preface in saying that I’ve spent a greater $12,000 USD with them for this years races. Part of this record attempt is obtaining signed witness statements from the race director at the particular race. I’ve never gotten responses for the Thailand or Oman races despite a magnitude of follow ups.
I wasn’t able to attend Ironman 70.3 Lima due to my injuries, so I e-mailed them the week prior letting me know how to go about withdrawing, and they didn’t e-mail me back. I followed up again, multiple times, and still… nothing:
This isn’t about money, this is about respect of the athletes time, and worthiness of a response. Last year I had registered for Ironman Boulder, but had a knee injury at a 70.3 leading up, and had e-mailed someone in charge of refunds/transfers. I pleaded with her about allowing me to transfer after having just spending somewhere around $12,000 on Ironman races from my record attempt, no dice.
Ironman 70.3 Barcelona wanted nothing to do with refunds. They even said point blank that, they don’t accept doctors note as a form of proof when it comes to refunds for the race. Cool. But why would I race them again knowing I would lose money if an unfortunate event occurred, even death?
Then there was the Ironman 70.3 Wilmington race, which was cancelled as a result of the hurricane. Leeway time? Nope. Refunds? Nope. I was traveling and managed to e-mail about a deferral but she said I was 3 days past the cutoff time, still, no dice.
Then there’s the whole CBD question I had. I was told by one of the Regional Director of Ironman that CBD was indeed, illegal in or out of racing. However, in 2017, WADA announced that CBD was off their list of prohibited items, see source. When I e-mailed Ironman to clarify, I got, surprise! No response.
When I had first reached out to Ironman about their potential involvement in my record attempt, I had reached out to none other than the CEO, Andrew Messick. Standard procedure with every potential sponsor on this record attempt was to send over a basic Non-disclosure Agreement. I did the same with my Expedition. This is to ensure that, prior to a record attempt, the matters of the attempt are to be kept confidential, between the brand and myself. There is only one person I’ve ever come across in my career, who denied the inclination of signing the NDA, and that was none other than Andrew Messick. See below.
And then there was the record attempt itself. Ironman wanted nothing to do with my attempt, that’s fine. But what bothered me more, is that they didn’t even want me involved with Women for Tri somehow. Who is Ironman owned by after all? The Chinese conglomerate, Dalian Wanda Group, who purchased Ironman in 2015 for 650 million. The Wanda Group is owned by Wang Jianlin, one of Chinas richest men. Total group revenues in 2018 for the company were 31.70 billion (source). Ironman’s Net Profits have grown at 40% a year (source). Ironman has overtaken many Challenge races, making them the unfortunate underdog against Ironman.
I am 100% enthralled that there is a company encouraging people all around the world to get out there and race! To be healthy and strong. And I’m thrilled that the same company is allowing for elite athletes to test their speed at races around the world and win some cash. These pro athletes sacrifice everything, including a stable job, to be able to train and race Ironman. The winner of Ironman Kona wins $120k, while the winner of any Ironman race takes home $14k and the winner of Ironman 70.3 events take home $3,000 USD (source + source). Which, compared to other sports like Tennis and Baseball, doesn’t seem like much especially considering how small the triathlon space is compared to the others.
With all of that said, I wanted this record attempt to be innocent, healthy, wholesome and positive, but I can’t seem to find much of that the longer I continue. I’m not saying I’m giving up on the record attempt, but I am going to speak to Guinness and see if they’ll allow companies like Challenge and HIITS to be included as part of the record attempt, as opposed to just Ironman-branded events.
Feedback? Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below, otherwise…