A living legend in Triathlon, Chris McCormack is considered one of the best all around Triathletes to ever compete and has now won a World Title in three different decades!
Australian Chris McCormack, known affectionately as ‘Macca’, began competing in Olympic Distance courses in 1996. The following year, he won both the Triathlon World Championships and the ITU World Cup Series! To date, no-one else has ever won both titles in a single year again. Never looking back, Macca continued to win and has become the worlds most winning Triathlete over the past decade. In 2002, always eager for a new challenge, Macca shifted his focus to longer distance racing with the Half and Full Ironman’s. McCormack won yet again, claiming victory in both his first Half Ironman as well as his first Ironman. He has since won 13 Ironman titles around the globe and on four occasions he has finished an Ironman under the mythical 8 hours, no two different courses -- a feat no other athlete has ever accomplished, In both 2007 and 2010 McCormack won the Ironman World Championship!
Setting his sites on yet another challenge, McCormack has once again shifted his efforts returning to short course and ITU racing, in hopes of making the 2012 Olympics.
|2-time Ironman Hawaii World Champion|
|13-tme Ironman Champion|
|5-time Triathlete of the Year|
|ITU Olympic Distance World Champion|
|ITU Triathlon World Cup Champion|
|23 National Championships|
|7 x World Cup Champion|
|Goodwill Games Gold Medalist|
|4 x Escape from Alcatraz Champion|
|4 x Wildflower Half Ironman Champion|
Ok, so this is not really a flat out blog....February 25, 2010
Ok, so this is not really a flat out blog. As with my last blog I have cheated a little bit and uploaded a magazine piece I recently wrote for one of the major Triathlon magazines in the USA. I was asked where my competitive drive came from and why I was so vocal about what I wanted to achieve in this sport. When speaking with the editor of the magazine they actually said, "Macca, to be honest your probably the most colorful interview we ever do with an athlete, you are a interviewers dream as you never know quite what your going to get. I mean that in a positive way, but where does this fire come from."
Its funny as I never mean to come off as arrogant or cocky. I really don't, and for those people who know me I am totally not that type of person. This being said, I am a very competitive person and enjoy my journey and my time in a sport that I grew up in. My career has given me the opportunity to travel, to remain fit and meet some amazing people and friends over the entire globe. It has given me my life and i am indebted to the sport for it.
Anyway I wrote this magazine piece about where I came from and what makes me tick for the magazine and have uploaded it here as well. I better write an actual blog tonight to catch up on everything that has been happening here. If you are on twitter you can follow most of what we do at www.twitter.com/chrisjmacca. Hope
ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY
People talk talent and genetics like they are the only key to success in sports. I don’t deny, that obviously natural ability must pave the way for success to some levels, but to assume that this is what splits a race down the middle is too simplistic a view. The performance puzzle is a product of so many different variables. Many of these variables you cannot quantify, but that does not make them any less important. I started out in this sport with one desire. All I ever wanted as a kid was to be a triathlete.
As a 15 year old, I could tell you all about the brutality of the Kona lava fields. I knew about the freezing cold waters of San Francisco that the Athletes faced at Escape from Alcatraz. I could look you in the eye and tell you with absolute conviction that Ironman Europe in Roth was the toughest Ironman to win because the Europeans raced well at home. I knew all the winners of the famous Wildflower Triathlon, the bike record times on the Chicago course, and the fact that the big four really should have been, a big 5, with the inclusion of the great Mike Pigg. There was nothing about this sport I didn’t know, and I had a thirst for information like nothing else. I was a triathlon geek, and no sport in the world meant more to me.
But I had never raced any of these events, nor been anywhere near a race of this magnitude in my life. I had never even left Australia, and the closest I had ever got to Mark Allen was when I lined up for 45 minutes to get his autograph at a race in Australia. I was still at high school and only knew about these events, because I watched them on VHS video. I read and re read every triathlon magazine that ever hit a newsstand and listened to the older guys who had raced in these events. It was passion that kept me interested, and triathlon idols that kept me thirsty for any news I could find regarding the sport of swim, bike and run.
As 16-year-old boys, my best mate Sean Maroney and I, sat down, and wrote out a list of all the races that we would one day like to compete in. Every race we could think of that had some significance to us made the list. We wrote them all down and laughed and argued and talked about the day we would finally make our triathlon pilgrimage together and race abroad. The day we would start chasing our list of races. After college and a stint in the workplace, I sold everything I had and flew up to Europe alone to chase this dream. Scared, uneasy and apprehensive I began my life as a professional triathlete. A long way from home, I was now racing to eat. You quickly learn that the glamour is something for the magazines and this was a very tough way to make a living. For many of the young aussies that were in Europe at this time, many went home to never be seen again. Without desire and passion for the sport, no amount of genetics will keep you on the circuit. It was hard living, but I loved it. It was all I ever wanted to do.
Over the years, I would go on to win many races in the cities we read about as boys. I got to know many of the idols we watched on TV and trained in those cool places like Boulder, Nice and San Diego. To try to explain the excitement of winning a World title at 23 years of age against the best athletes on the planet, when all those athletes are still your idols is impossible. Sean and I, sat in my hotel room in absolute disbelief the night I did. Chris McCormack, ITU World Champion and World Cup Champion. Incredible!! ITU World Cup wins, National Championships, Escape from Alcatraz wins, Chicago, Wildflower, San Jose and San Diego’s. It was our time to shine, and we lived it as it happened. Every title I brought home we admired and appreciated, because of the history that stood behind every one of those events. It was happening, and now it was our time. We just loved it and lived it, and chased titles out of desire and respect. Never a heart rate monitor or power meter. We trained and laughed and it really was that simple.
But I also spent my time around the sport scientists and guru coaches, who poked and prodded me and told me what my limitations were. Setting training parameters and discussing my weaknesses, was always the key topic for them. Desire was never brought up. Sean and I always felt, that it took more than numbers, heart rates and thresholds to determined performance. But who was I to argue? I never had the piece of paper to justify my opinions. I was simply a talent and would never understand where my performances came from. Just listen and let the experts guide you was the mantra for the time.
I talked of my list and my dreams of Hawaii to many sport scientists, and was constantly told that this was a pipedream.
“Macca the difference between dreams and reality are just that, one is a dream and the other is reality. Your just not built to carry the fuel in a race like Kona. You’re a speed demon, a power athlete. Just too big to ever do anything in that heat and humidity”
.How could you argue with them? With every year I failed in Kona their case grew stronger and their words echoed in my head. I was the best short course athlete in the World when I went across to Ironman. I had a body built for speed, and performance for a long period of time in humidity was just not in my genetic makeup.
Sean would never see me compete in Kona, and our childhood pact to race our first Hawaii together ended 3 months before my first race in Hawaii, when Sean was tragically killed in an accident, ironically in Hawaii. From the day Sean died, my entire focus was our list. Completing our dream was all I cared about. The only race that was left for me to win was Ironman Hawaii and despite everything the scientists told me, it was the path I was taking. I would do it in the same way that we had won every other event on our list. By remaining true to myself, and believing it was possible. Love the race first and appreciate what it is. Train with that mindset, and train hard.
I completed our dream in October 2007, after 5 years of trying. The scientists were right, my body was not designed for the heat in Kona and of all the races in my career that I had won, this was the most difficult for me. But I won, when they told me I never would! As I crossed the line in Kona, I looked to the sky, pointed a finger up to my mate, and said aloud, “Our time to shine” This was our mantra for years. And now more than ever it had never sounded so good. Mission accomplished, 15 years on and our list completed. Every race I ever wanted to win, I now owned.
My career was guided by a piece of paper, a friendship, belief and a dream. In a sport that is obsessed with power metres, heart rates, thresholds and training zones I often wonder how I ever got to where I did. I can be honest and say many of these tools, I have never owned and never felt the need to. If I had relied on natural ability or a course set out for me by someone else, then I would never have crossed that line in Kona first and never have completed our dream. I would still have my list and it would be incomplete. I may have won lots of races and who knows where my triathlon path would have taken me. But my desire and aim in this sport was never about winning races. It was never to make money and never to be the best short course triathlete on earth. My passion for this sport was born out of trying to emulate my childhood heros, and to experience those races that they did. Our list kept me true to that dream and I am happy that it did.
Enjoy Your Journey,
December 1, 2012
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