Who is the Iron Cowboy?
Canadian James Lawrence is an endurance triathlete who took up endurance racing to escape the corporate rat race. Over the past five years, Lawrence has pushed himself to his limits on the most extreme endurance race circuits and challenges in the world, including the likes of: ‘The World’s Toughest Race’, a ten-day 671km trek through the Fijian jungle; the UberMan, a 895km ultra triathlon; and the Xtri World Championships.
In 2015, Lawrence completed 50 Iron-distance triathlons in 50 consecutive days, each in a different state of the 50 US states. Despite encountering much controversy and disbelief in his goal, it was a success, and today Lawrence has built quite a following. Known universally as the ‘Iron Cowboy’, he now gives motivational talks on toughness and ‘iron grit’.
What is Conquer 100?
It’s in the name, from 1 March to 8 June over a timespan of 100 days, Lawrence will endeavour to complete one full Iron-distance triathlon every single day; that’s 3.8km swim, 180km ride, and a full marathon every day. In total, this amounts to a final distance of 22,627km over 14 weeks.
Lawrence predicts each daily triathlon will take him around 14hr, with a full breakdown on pace and timings mapped out on his website. The pool swim is (very specifically) predicted to take him 1h28 and 40s, the bike 6h45 which is an average pace of 26.7km/h, with the final run estimated to last 5h at a pace of 7min/km.
Lawrence’s day 1 triathlon was completed in 14h40, full breakdowns can be found online, Lawrence stating “I forgot how hard these are”.
Day 1/100 done. Quote of the day is, “I forgot how hard these are.” It’s going to be tough, but it’s part of the process. pic.twitter.com/l4PsH2Qye1— James Lawrence (@IronCowboyJames) March 2, 2021
Why would you do such a thing?
Aside from the thrill from completing such a seemingly impossible challenge, Lawrence has partnered with Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R) which is an organisation that fights against the “modern-day slavery” of child sex trafficking and exploitation, to ultimately dismantle the billion-pound criminal industry.
A whole host of sponsors are already onboard including the likes of sports brands Garmin, Hoka, TYR, ENVE and Pearl Izumi. Confidence in Lawrence is evidently high.
How can I get involved?
The Conquer 100 is being run as a virtual or in-person race by Lawrence, meaning that he and his team encourage everyone who fancies it to get involved for a leg or a day of the challenge. How does this work? Lawrence has published predicted start times for each daily leg, commencing at 5:30am each morning for the swim and finishing the marathon run each day at 7:30pm, he has also described where racers can meet him on his route in the Lindon, Utah area to join him on the swim, bike or run. Those living further afield can sign up to a virtual run race under the challenge name and complete this anywhere in the world to their own schedule. This does come at a cost however, a breakdown of which is on the Iron Cowboy website.
Extreme or the dream?
We want to know your thoughts, are you in awe of this challenge or concerned about the extreme connotations and its influence on Lawrence’s following? Do you think completing 100 consequtive Iron-distance triathlons is possible, or is Lawrence setting himself up for failure? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @220Triathlon.
Top image credit: Matthew Norton