Other Endurance Sport Profiles
The following are brief profiles of interviewees. The full interviews will be available in the upcoming book.
Carl Bamforth is a 51 year old highly motivated and competitive in-line distance speed skater, who lives in the “Garden City” of Victoria British Columbia. Carl has participated in various sports at different times since age 16 including soccer, running, hockey, baseball, cycling, triathalons, as well as in-line skating. In his early 40s Carl tried on a pair of in-line skates, and never looked back. Carl is currently focused on training to set the over 50 world records for the 1 hour, 6 hour, 12 hour, and 24 hour events. If you want to be inspired to up the ante in your training, visit a log of Carl’s weight workouts on http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_senior/need_for_speed. I read a bit of it, and it opened my eyes. He also routinely does 50km to 80kn skates that take 2.5-3 hours.
The interview with Carl was great, and I’m looking forward to working on the copy for the book. One thing that Carl said in particular struck me because of his unique perspective. As a carpet and upholstery cleaning professional, Carl is in the homes of retired people often. What he sees on a daily basis is how most people lose what we as athletes consider the most basic physical capabilities by their 60s. These daily reminders fuel Carl’s motivation to train the way he does, to not only set the world records he seeks, but to live a strong, long, and purposeful life.
If I had to bet on whether Carl will set the four world record he wants or not, my money would be on Carl. Go man!
Bill Purves is a 65 year old race walker, who has lived in Canada, Newfoundland, Switzerland, and who now lives in Hong Kong. Bill has used race walking to build links to the community in all the places around the globe that he has lived. Bill is well known in Hong Kong by the handle Sahn Hahng Tai Bo, a Chinese name he took on when he moved to Hong Kong. Sahn Hahng Tai Bo is a character from a 14th century Chinese novel about a troupe of bandits. Sahn Hahn Tai Bo was one of the bandits, and he had the mystic power of being able to walk for hundreds of miles after invoking certain incantations.
Bill considers himself a lifelong journeyman. In high school he ran cross country, and was never one of the best runners. Bill got started race walking when his college coach told him he was doing the race walk for points, and that he really didn’t need him in the running events. He has adopted the philosophy of being a journeyman in race walking, although he is quite accomplished, making the Canadian national team in 1971 and 1972.
Bill is the author of a number of books, the most popular being about his 100 day journey, walking through the rural areas of China, learning about the Chinese peasants. He is currently finishing a book about his experience in adopting an extremely difficult training program used by the Chinese Olympic race walkers, once again the story of a journeyman.
Race walking has shaped Bill’s life in many ways. Through it, he has enjoyed great racing success, he has used it to assimilate in various countries, it is the inspiration for his books, he enjoys it very much, and he even met his wife through race walking.
Rich Davis is a 54 year old triathlete who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and who has been doing triathlons from the very early days of the sport. Rich swam competitively from a young age up through college, and discovered cycling and running after college, enjoying them both. One day back in 1979 after he had swam 5K in a swimathon, and rode his bike 50 miles to his sisters house with a friend, his sister showed him a Sports Illustrated article about the first Iron Man triathlon. He figured that he had almost done one that day, and decided to do one. Rich went on to have lots of success in triathlons and marathons, and once won the Canadian National Ironman Championship Triathlon.
Rich does not train for events, but instead considers what he does to be play. He also gives Ken Kelly, his age group swim coach, tons of credit for getting him started on a life that he loves, and recently called Ken and told him how much influence he had on Rich’s life. When Rich told me this in our interview, I decided to do this myself, and called my high school cross country coach Dave Doak. I thanked Dave for teaching me how to dream, set goals, work hard, and celebrate. Interestingly enough, Dave and his wife were preparing to relocate, and if I had not called at that time, I may have not been able to find them. I think that everyone who has had a coach that got them started should find them and call them today. Don’t wait, just do it. They deserve more thanks than we can collectively verbalize.
Helen Geoffrion is a 70 year old triathlete who lives in Santa Monica, California, and who attended a private girl’s school in Columbus, Ohio where she played EVERY sport they offered including tennis, soccer, softball, field hockey, basketball, swimming, and badminton. Helen was recognized as Best Athlete in her high school graduating class, and in 2000 was elected to the Columbus School for Girl’s Athletic Hall of Fame for not only being a great athlete while in school, but also because she was one of the first female triathletes in the United States in the 45 year old age group in the mid 1980’s.
Helen has been selected for the USA World Triathlon Team that went to the World Triathlon Championships several times, traveling to Germany, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and places in the USA, as part of the team. She is often ranked in the top ten for 14 of the 17 events in USA Masters Swimming.
Helen got started doing triathlons because she loves swimming and in the mid 1980’s saw people training for and doing triathlons, and thought it looked like fun. Helen completed an Olympic length triathlon in her first outing, and enjoyed it despite it being very difficult for her. When Helen called her daughter to tell her that she had done her first triathlon, she was surprised to hear that her daughter had done her first triathlon the same weekend!
Helen got the bug, and has competed at national and world championship levels in swimming and triathlons ever since. Helen told me that while working with her coach, Gale Bernhardt, she dropped her training from over 20 hours per week, to about 10 hours per week, and has seen great results. Helen is thrilled by the fact that there are over 40,000 master’s swimmers and 100,000 master’s triathletes, and is currently training for the World Triathlon Championships in Queensland, Australia to be held in September, where she hopes to finish strong and have fun.
Merrill Schwartz is a 67 year old triathlete who lives and practices law in San Francisco, California. Merrill started cycling when he was in his thirties in an effort to lose weight. He found it much easier to increase his activity level rather than eat less, because he really likes to eat. Later, with four young boys in the family and a busy law practice, Merrill picked up running so that he could get a higher intensity workout in a shorter amount of time. About 17 years ago, Merrill’s son Brian was volunteering at a triathlon, and Merrill figured that he cycled and ran, so why not do a triathlon. He now loves the diversity in training that triathlon training offers.
Merrill was green long before it was fashionable. He has been cycling to work for over 40 years. Each day, he rides his folding bike 3 miles to the train, takes it onto the train, then rides 4 miles from the train station to his office. Merrill is as committed to cycling to work, as he is to his family and his clients. Merrill considers his greatest achievement as running with each of his four sons when they did their first marathons.
In an upcoming post I’ll give an update on recent activities of some of the folks I’ve interviewed. I know that some of them have done some very cool events. Big weeks of interviews the next couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to every single one.