Triathlete: He’s 66. And He’s Fitter Than You

 Triathlete magazine, Robert Hamilton Owens
  The epic endurance of Robert Hamilton Owens knows no bounds. A look inside the incredible feats of the world’s fittest swim-bike-runner. Just don’t call him a triathlete

The epic endurance of Robert Hamilton Owens knows no bounds. A look inside the incredible feats of the world’s fittest swim-bike-runner. Just don’t call him a triathlete

In 1979, Sports Illustrated magazine published an article about a new sporting event in Honolulu known as a “triathlon.” Most people read it and muttered, “Swim, bike, and run—that’s crazy.” But when Robert Hamilton Owens read it, he said, “Swim, bike, and run—that’s it?”

“Really, I was essentially doing multisport as a Special Ops Pararescueman in the seventies,” said Owens. “I was compelled by reading that Sports Illustrated article in 1979. I knew immediately, after having been in the Special Ops military, that I wanted to test myself and see if I could do this crazy event.”

Spoiler alert: He could. In 1980, 27 year-old Owens completed Ironman Hawaii, a race that kicked off almost 40 years of adventure as he searched for other ways to test himself —racing outrigger canoes, attempting a winter ascent of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, and completing the SEALFIT Kokoro 50-hour challenge. His most recent accomplishment is the completion of the World Marathon Challenge: 7 marathons, on 7 continents, in 7 consecutive days.

“I first heard about it in May 2017, when someone showed me the video of the 2016 World Marathon Challenge,” says Owens. “Just like with the Sports Illustrated article from 1979, I said to the people around me ‘I am going to do that. I must do that.’”

Of course, simply doing the World Marathon Challenge wasn’t enough. Owens immediately plotted out a series of events in 2017: The first event, called “The 300 of Sparta,” was 238 miles across Greece in eight days in May 2017; The second event, in August 2017, was a 23-mile run-swim-run in southern California, from the San Clemente Pier to the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach, (Owens covered the distance in nine hours); Third, in October 2017, was SEALFIT’s Kokoro, a Navy Seal instructor’s 50-hour challenge. In comparison, the fourth event—November’s Ironman Cozumel, Owens’ 12th Ironman finish—seemed like a cakewalk. He closed out his season with the World Marathon Challenge in January 2018... READ MORE

Rick Krusky