They say, to be an ace in your sport of choice, you have to invest a lot of time and patience to be able to master the art of being an athlete. So what does it take to triumph over one of the toughest endurance races in the world?
Does one have to triple the effort to achieve his athletic ambition? If it takes a lot of time, does one have to be old and experienced to be a triathlete?
The answer is no.
In 1982, 14-year old Rodkey Faust from Idaho completed the February IronMan Triathlon World Championship in just 13:36:17, well within the competition’s (then-) 24-hour time limit. Obviously, Rodkey didn’t let his age be a barrier to what he can achieve as an athlete. What he lacked in age and experience, he made up for with discipline, determination and heaps of passion.
At the time, Faust was associated with “Youth With A Mission”, an inter-denominational, non-profit Christian, missionary organization. He made time for his training in preparation for the race, cycling 100 miles before work each day, determined to prove that someone his age could finish the overall triathlon if he put his mind (and body) to it.
Today, decades after Rodkey Faust’s record-setting run, young triathletes can be found signing up for IronKids competitions all over the world.
Today, there is an IronMan minimum age requirement of 18 years old, but the IronKids competition is open to participants aged 3-15. Thus, unless the IronMan rules change in the future, it is highly unlikely that Faust’s record will ever be broken. Indeed, his name will forever be in the history books, not merely because of his skills and endurance, but also because of the determination and passion that fueled the young boy to chase his goals, despite being a less-experienced amateur.
In 2004, 22 years after his record-breaking IronMan turn, Faust returned to the competition that made him famous, but not for his own benefit. Aged 36 and working in the sheet metal industry, Faust was taking part in honor of the young baby, Emilio, he and his wife were trying to adopt.
To prepare for the race, Faust once again made time to train in his busy schedule, spending upwards of 15 hours a week on it, cycling to and from work for a 66-mile roundtrip, and running 20-25 miles three to four times a week.
Perseverance, tenacity, and a passion to never give up saw Faust through his race, and paid off in his subsequent adoption of baby Emilio later that year, who can now be found smiling happily in photos posted on Rodkey’s Facebook page.
There are a lot of methods in achieving goals, not just in sports, but it all goes back to going the extra mile, figuratively and sometimes even literally.