Utah native James Lawrence set another world record by completing 50 Ironman courses in 50 states in 50 days.
He began his 50-50-50 challenge in Hawaii on June 6 and finished at Thanksgiving Point’s Electric Park on Saturday, July 25. After finishing the race, he thanked everybody for their support. Then he sat down and hugged his kids.
Lawrence now holds the record for the most full Ironman races in a full year. He also holds the record for the most half and full triathlons completed in a year. He completed 22 half triathlons in 30 weeks in 2010, and 30 full triathlons in 2012. He won two titles and placed second in five races in 2012.
An Ironman race includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. That means that in 50 days, Lawrence has swum 120 miles, biked 5,600 miles and run 1,310 miles for a total of 7,030 miles completed. That’s like swimming, biking and running from San Diego to the very tip of Maine and back, with almost another 100 miles to fill.
Lawrence’s efforts were not only an attempt to gain further renown for his endurance racing skills; he also ran to raise greater focus on childhood obesity in America.
“There is a massive epidemic in this country,” Lawrence said in a press release announcing the conclusion of his 50-50-50 Challenge. “We need to change the way we eat, we need to change our activity levels, and we need to change our lifestyles.”
Lawrence’s website makes the claim that childhood obesity may make this generation of children the first to not outlive their parents. He hopes to motivate people and families to change their lifestyles to be more healthy in an attempt to combat childhood obesity.
“Change is hard. It’s really hard, but hard things come with incredible rewards,” Lawrence said. “I have high hopes that people will just be inspired and want to make a change.”
Lawrence and his team have encouraged the public to participate in each of his races in some way by running, biking or swimming with him for as long as they want for free.
Lawrence also hopes his efforts frame an example for his five young children.
“Everything I do, I do for them. I try to set big goals and accomplish them,” Lawrence said in the press release. “I want to be around for them as long as I can, and this is my motivation to get up and do those things.”
Lawrence’s children, whom Lawrence calls his “side-kicks,” were a big part of the celebration at the end of his race. His daughters helped him celebrate his victory by singing a cover of the song “Cups.” His sons helped him wake up for each day’s race and helped him fight off the exhaustion as the races took their toll.
Sunny Lawrence, his wife, also expressed thanks for everybody’s support and admiration for her husband.
“He took every step by himself,” she said. She also said she was touched by the generous donations people made to her husband and to his charity.