Orange County Register: There’s a Reason He Keeps Running

Robert Hamilton Owens, Orange County Register

I’m looking for the old guy with a #71 on his arm.

A former Special Ops guy. A former motorcycle minister. An inspirational speaker who worked with the New York Jets during this year’s Super Bowl run.

He’s also, according to Triathlete magazine, the most interesting triathlete in the world.

“I’m really not an athlete,” Robert Owens, 58, of Laguna Beach, told me a few days earlier. “I’m a guy who trains once a year, goes out and knocks down another Ironman.”

Since turning 50, he’s completed five Ironman races. (That’s a 2.4-mile ocean swim; followed by a 112-mile bike race; followed by a 26.2-mile marathon.) He doesn’t own a bike. Doesn’t run outside a gym. He’s passed out in two contests. Got up and willed himself to the finish line!

“It’s a mental game,” says Owens. “Once you’ve puked and passed out and gotten up again, it’s just a minor issue. If it happens, it doesn’t bug me.”

But why put yourself through such torture?

I’m about to find out.

Owens has asked me to meet him by the San Clemente Pier. On this morning, he’s entering San Clemente’s lifeguard tryouts – without training. He steps into the surf with 75 swimmers young enough to be his grandkids... READ MORE

Rick Krusky