James Lawrence isn’t your ordinary endurance athlete competitor or weekend warrior. He’s previously held World Records with a 70.3 and 140.6 triathlon race time, and recently ran a 50-50-50. That’s 50 full triathlons in 50 days in 50 states! For those unfamiliar with the makeup of a long distance race, it consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, and full 26.22 marathon. That’s a total of 120 miles of swimming, 5,600 miles on a bike and 1,311 miles on foot. He completed 50 of those in 50 days!
Some would identify James as a superhuman and we agree. He doesn't think so. James describes himself as an average family man with a relentless work ethic. Nevertheless, he is a living testament to what one can achieve when you set a vision for yourself and never lose focus. Today he has traveled to over 50 different countries to share his journey. Needless to say, his achievements didn’t come overnight--but rather, were more than a decade of hard work in the making.
Read our one-on-one with James aka the Iron Cowboy as we dub him a Rustico Mark Maker.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Family, hometown, etc...
I’m a husband, athlete, competitor, world record holder, and proud father of four daughters and a son. I compete in endurance races and Long Distance Triathlons. I call Lindon, Utah home, and that’s where I live and train.
So it's 50-50-50 right?! That's 50 long distance races in 50 days in 50 states?
That’s right! 50-50-50 is what I set my sights on. That’s 50 long distance races in 50 consecutive days in 50 states and I did it!
Can you tell us about the James Oliver Food Foundation?
This foundation is my attempt to raise awareness of the rising issue of childhood obesity in our country. Throughout the 50-50-50 campaign, I was happy to assist in such a great cause.
Where did the name Iron Cowboy come from and who gave it to you?
I was given the name Iron Cowboy after completing a long distance triathlon race in 2011. During the running segment, I put on a cowboy hat so that my kids could see me. Someone called me Iron Cowboy and the name just kind of stuck. The nickname has followed me all over the world as I competed in multiple long distance triathlons and endurance races.
If you look at my logo, you can see the iron cowboy. One swoop is the beard and the other is the cowboy hat. If you turn it sideways you’ll see an “IC” for Iron Cowboy.
You previously held two world records. What was that like?
While they have since been broken, it was cool at the time. But it isn’t about the records. It’s about the impact and legacy we leave. I have had the opportunity to speak and race in 56 different countries. Our goal is to inspire and help people to dream big and have their own major breakthroughs in life.
What's training like for you?
I work out anywhere from 1-6 hours a day every day except Sundays. Training depends on the goal or session. Some are fast and some are slow. There’s always a purpose to my different training regimens.
What are the best shoes to run in?
I like Altras. They fit my feet nicely and are comfortable to run in. They have wide toe boxes because our feet aren’t pointed. I’ve been running in Altras since 2010.
Which event is the most challenging? Running, Swimming, or Cycling?
Running. I don’t love to run. I am starting to get more into trail running and have already enjoyed the shift from the road. My favorite part of the race is the cycling. The swim is always just a formality.
How do you put your body through all the training and competition?
It’s been a tough decade of training, but it’s been mentally just as tough. I train hard to keep myself healthy and strong. I try to work just as hard mentally and spiritually as well as physically, to remain focused. I teach my kids that when they commit to something they need to see it through. What type of example would I be setting if I didn’t complete my own goals and commitments? That keeps me going so I don’t let them down. It’s a valuable lesson for my kids to see and to do - set a goal and see it through.
What's your favorite leisure sport to play when you're not focused on training and competitions?
I love to golf. I do it whenever I can.
Any advice for someone training for their first long-distance triathlon or big race?
Hire a coach. My training and regimen are all possible because of my coach David Warren. We run a team called Team Iron Cowboy and information can be found here. We help athletes from all over the world.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered most for being a father. Being a good father to my kids and husband to my wife is ultimately what I’d like to be remembered for.
What's next for you?
My next opportunity isn’t a physical one. I’ve written a book called “Redefine Impossible” and I get to travel around and speak to others about it. The only thing I’m trying to do is to get people to open their minds to what is possible. We live in a day and age of limitations, where people get their own way. The hardest thing to do is start moving and engaging. It’s actually not as hard as it seems. The scariest thing is that first motion. Doing and acting. Learning to show up. The moment you realize the next step won’t kill you is when you start to evolve, learn, and grow. That’s a beautiful moment.
All images via James’ site: https://www.ironcowboy.com/
It’s apparent that James is an “all-in” kind of guy that gives 110% in everything he does. He’s pushed his limits and set the bar high in his sport. He truly is a loving individual who inspires and encourages others to believe in themselves, set a vision, and see it through. We can all take a page out of James’ playbook and work hard to see our dreams through.
It was a pleasure for us to be able to talk with James. Talk about a true Mark Maker! You can follow him on social media @ironcowboy and watch the interview he did with Tom Bilyeu on an episode of Impact Theory.