LINDON (ABC4) – James Lawrence, also known as the “Iron Cowboy,” is just hours away from his 100th completion of a task that most people couldn’t or wouldn’t do even once.
On Tuesday evening, Lawrence will cross the finish line for the final time as part of Conquer 100, a self-imposed challenge of completing an entire Ironman triathlon everyday for 100 days straight.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, an Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile long swim, a 112 mile long bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run.
“I am absolutely relieved and can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Lawrence told ABC4 via email last week after his 95th lap. “It’s now the time to start counting down.”
Accomplishing astounding feats of physical endurance is nothing new to Lawrence. In 2015, he achieved international fame for completing 50 Ironman triathlons in all 50 U.S. states in 50 consecutive days. That monumental feat, along with his fondness for the outdoors and his rugged, Western look and lifestyle, earned him the nickname, the “Iron Cowboy.”
His website states that after wrapping up the 50 triathlons six years ago, he rode his mountain bike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, ran 235 miles across the length of Greece, and continued to participate and race in triathlons around the globe.
The idea for the Conquer 100 came as a way to challenge himself even further. It’s also for a good cause. Partnering with Operation Underground Railroad, James’ team has helped to raise awareness and of thousands of dollars in the efforts against human trafficking.
While the father of five is clearly devoted to the mission, the physical toll of completing an Ironman everyday for over three months is still very much in play.
Lawrence begins each day with his swim at the Lindon Aquatics Center, where it takes him about an hour and a half to complete the 2.4 mile long dip. After a quick shower and change, he hops on his bike and rides down by Payson and back up to the Mount Timpanogos area before returning to his pad in Lindon. That 112.21 mile loop takes about six hours and 45 minutes. After another 30-minute break, Lawrence heads out to finish his day with a brisk five hour run to complete the day with an entire marathon.
Then it’s back home for a massage, additional treatment, and well-needed rest.
Wash, rinse, and repeat for 100 straight days.
Lawrence remarks in his comments that the days have blurred together and that it’s impossible to pick a singular moment that has stood out as particularly painful or challenging. It’s all been painful and challenging.
Luckily, Lawrence isn’t experiencing this project alone. He’s loaded with a team of eight additional support staff members, which includes a coach, running partner, athletic trainer, nutritionist, and physiologist, along with his wife, Sunny.
“My team has been INSTRUMENTAL in the success of this project,” James wrote in his email with ABC4.
What has surprised him the most during this adventure has been the support of the local community and his enormous social media following that has been tracking every stroke, pedal, and step of Conquer 100. His daily route is posted on his website for anyone who wishes to meet and see the Iron Cowboy in action themselves. Many have turned out.
“The community has been putting up signs, coming out to cheer us on during the day, and even setting up coolers along the trail for our team and anybody who comes to support us,” he writes.
Still, the physical strain has been immense. Lawrence’s shins are coated with specialty tape to mitigate the pain of his shin splits during his runs. Even eating has become an arduous task with Utah’s incredibly dry conditions and heat leaving gruesome blisters on his lips.
Finally, the journey will come to an end on Tuesday and Lawrence can close the book on his Conquer 100 quest.
As for what’s next for the multiple World Record holder, don’t ask.
“If I ask him this question, he will flip,” his daughter, Lucy, who also runs the family’s company, jokes. “He will say something along the lines of, ‘Is 100 not good enough for you people? Can I never be done?’ I’ll save you from the speech.”