For most people, completing a single Ironman-distance triathlon represents a major milestone. An athlete might train for years to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles—all within the official cutoff time of 17 hours.
But for Will Turner, one wasn’t enough. In December 2019, at age 61, Turner finished his 105th Ironman-distance triathlon in two years. To achieve this insane feat, he spent 2018 and 2019 in an almost nonstop cycle of swimming, biking, and running, sometimes completing multiple “races” on consecutive days.
The quest started in 2018, when Turner decided to celebrate his 60th birthday by doing the same number of 140.6-mile triathlons in a single year. Because there aren’t enough organized Ironman events to accomplish this goal, Turner created his own courses around the U.S. and Canada. As the owner of a sales-training company and an endurance-coaching business, he was able to set his own work schedule and steadily built upon his goal of 60 events. By the end of 2018, he’d surpassed the Guinness World Record for most 140.6-mile triathlon races completed in a year. (However, because he didn’t have two independent observers witness his accomplishment, according to the Guinness rule book, he doesn’t hold the official record.)
On New Year’s Day of 2019, while sitting at the kitchen table with Chris DeStefano, his partner, DeStefano encouraged him to keep going until he reached 100. DeStefano felt like they had the potential to inspire even more people. Turner was in, but for the 2019 leg of his journey, he made it a priority to do his triathlons in as many national parks and public lands as he could. DeStefano took photos and managed logistics, and Turner created Live Your Bold, a website and social-media campaign providing inspiration and resources to others who wanted to chase big goals.
In December, Turner finished his 99th and 100th Ironmans in Death Valley National Park, which straddles the California-Nevada border. Then he added five more in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, taking the total to 105. Turner recently recounted some of his favorite highlights from the adventure with Outside.