In the words of IRONMAN Triathlon co-founder John Collins, “Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. Run 26.2 miles. Brag for the rest of your life.”
For those athletes who choose to push their limits to reach their fullest potential, the IRONMAN Triathlon is the ultimate test for how far their bodies can take them. Jet Linx Houston Director of Jet Card Sales Bryan Apgar is one of those athletes with official bragging rights – having completed five IRONMAN Triathlons, with plans to participate in another this October.
“When I started doing triathlons in 2011, I became hooked to the sport. I started training harder and aiming to do longer distances. My first IRONMAN was in 2013. I just love doing it. It’s a sport where you’re competing against others, but you also compete against yourself – pushing yourself to do better in the next race and beat your personal record,” Apgar explained.
One of the most difficult, yet rewarding triathlons, IRONMAN is a one-day race consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.22 mile run, totaling 140.6 miles. Any athlete that finishes the triathlon before the midnight cutoff is forever deemed an IRONMAN. Since its start, the triathlon has inspired hundred of thousands of athletes to prove how much they can accomplish.
IRONMAN got its start in 1978 on the shores of Waikiki, Hawaii, with an idea sparked by conversation among a small group of friends. Naval Officer John Collins and his friends were debating who were the fittest athletes – swimmers, bikers, or runners. Having experience participating in triathlons, Collins and his wife, Judy, decided to combine the three to create the world’s most challenging endurance race. On the morning of February 18, fifteen competitors gathered to participate in the first IRONMAN.
In 1980, the Collins introduced the IRONMAN Triathlon to the world on a filming of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” and everything took off from there. One of the most iconic moments in IRONMAN history occurred just two years following when college student Julie Moss collapsed yards away from the finish line and crawled the rest of the course to finish the race. Her performance became legend and showed the victory of just crossing the IRONMAN finish line.
SINCE WE FOUNDED PR ENDURANCE, I’VE WATCHED SEVERAL OF MY ATHLETES COMPLETE IRONMANS AND I FEEL SOME OF THE SAME EMOTIONS I FEEL WHEN CROSSING THE FINISH LINE MYSELF.Bryan Apgar
Having crossed that finish line five times, Apgar knows the overwhelming sense of victory that comes from taking those final steps. “When you cross the finish line there are emotions you can’t really describe. The culmination of your months of training and the day in itself come together as you come down the finisher chute and cross the line. It almost makes the pain of that entire day go away.”
In addition to crossing the finish line numerous times, Apgar’s most meaningful IRONMAN memories are those he has been able to share with his family. “I met my wife doing this sport. We were both on the same team training for a race we did a couple years ago and we started dating. I’ve also done two full IRONMANs with my dad, so it has been an amazing experience to train and share those accomplishments with him. Being able to share the day with my family makes the races that much more special.”
Apgar’s passion for the sport has also led him to coach individuals who share the same the goal. “I’ve always enjoying coaching and helping people achieve their goals, even in high school and college. When I became knowledgeable enough in training for triathlons, I went and got certified to start coaching other athletes,” he said. “I really enjoyed the process I went through to train and complete my first IRONMAN, so with knowing what it’s like to accomplish it I wanted to help others accomplish the same.”
Apgar co-founded PR Endurance Sports in 2014, with the goal of giving athletes like himself and his fellow founders a place to call home and work to achieve their goals. “Since we founded PR Endurance, I’ve watched several of my athletes complete IRONMANs and I feel some of the same emotions I feel when crossing the finish line myself. I have been a part of the journey they have taken to get to that moment and I’m incredibly proud to watch them achieve their goal.”
There is one question Apgar always asks his athletes – why are you doing this? “I tell them to always remember the answer to that question. Both the training and the triathlon itself will get really hard, so if they remember why they are doing it then they will have the determination to push past the pain and achieve their goal. Your mind will tell you to stop. You just need a way to overcome it.”
If you find yourself wondering what the average IRONMAN athlete looks like, you can start by looking at their training profiles. Those gearing up for a full IRONMAN event can expect to put in between 18 to 30 hours per week of training, averaging seven swim miles, 225 miles by bike, and another 48 spent running. This grueling pace ramps up over the course of seven months before a race unfolds.
He has even noticed that his determined and competitive nature has helped prepare him for his role in Jet Card sales with Jet Linx and has given him a path to success. “You need those two traits to be successful in sales! The same goes for the advice I give my athletes. Remember your end goal of wanting to provide a prospect with the best service in the industry and it will carry you through, no matter how long it takes.”
For Apgar, that spirit has so far carried him to multiple top 10 age group finishes and two 70.3 IRONMAN competition distance age group wins. With 15 events under his belt, that list is sure to grow.
Over the years, IRONMAN has produced many inspirational stories of athletes who will stop at nothing to complete the race. It has spread to all seven continents and over forty full IRONMAN races take place in cities around the world every year. The IRONMAN World Championship takes place annually in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where over 2,000 athletes gather with hopes of earning the ultimate IRONMAN title.
Apgar will complete his sixth IRONMAN this year in Cambridge, Maryland. The world championship in Hawaii has become one of Apgar’s goals as an triathlete, and he has come close to qualifying. He has also completed many other events including numerous IRONMAN 70.3 and the Boston Marathon.