Chiropractor aims to finish 100 triathlons in 100 days

Thursday, July 17, 2008 | 10:42 p.m. CDT; updated 4:55 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"My muscles are a little fatigued," John Curtin said. "But I'm not sore and have had no injuries so far."

With 50 triathlons down, John Curtin only has 50 races left on his 100 triathlons in 100 days tour. The tour’s purpose is to raise awareness and funds for the prevention of sexual and physical child abuse.

“I wanted to give something back to the community, and I wanted to do something for the children,” Curtin said.


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The tour began May 31, Curtin’s birthday. Since then, he has been doing one triathlon a day, staying in Missouri during the week, and traveling outside the state on weekends.

This Sunday is Curtin’s first year participating in the Show-Me State Games Triathlon. It will be his 51st race on the tour.

“It’ll be my first race during the tour that is in my home state,” he said.

Curtin is a chiropractor at his clinic, Aligned Chiropractic, in Lake St. Louis. As an athlete and a doctor, he had done races with people from his office, but he wanted to do something out of the ordinary, make a big statement and have an impact on the issue of child abuse.

Because there are no registered triathlons during the week, he has kept up with his 100 triathlons in 100 days goal by re-creating courses with the help of Missouri race directors. These race directors have marked different courses for him, which he either completes on his own, or has friends and local Tri-Club members complete with him.

Although Curtin has been doing triathlons every day since the end of May, he said you would never be able to tell by looking at him.

“I’m not a world-class elite athlete, but if you were to see me today, you wouldn’t believe I’ve done 45 triathlons,” he said earlier this week.

At the age of 13, Curtin became interested in triathlons after one of his friends participated in an Ironman competition.

“I had a friend who qualified for Ironman in Hawaii, and I thought that was the coolest thing,” he said.

An Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Curtin has not yet participated in an Ironman. He has, however, participated in three half Ironmans on his tour so far.

Since Curtin is a doctor, he said he knows what to watch for in regard to injuries and pushing himself too far.

“My muscles are a little fatigued,” he said. “But I’m not sore and have had no injuries so far.”

So far on the tour, he has won third place in two of the races, 17th in one, and set his personal best in a half Ironman, which he finished in 6 hours and 19 seconds. The money for these races comes mostly from sponsors such as Nike and McDonalds. However, Curtin said that some of the money comes straight out of his pocket.

Sally Drake, Curtin’s coach, said that she has been working with him since December and manages his progress online.

“I schedule his daily workouts, and he logs what he completes.” Drake said.

She said that the most important thing in his training was building his endurance. She said it does not really matter how fast he completes the races, but that he finishes each one without injuries.

Before the tour began, Curtin said he was spending anywhere between three to five hours a day training for the triathlons. He said he’d do different exercises such as lifting weights, swimming and running.

“I was training for my endurance to last 100 days,” he said.

Curtin said that being halfway done feels great. He described it as a huge accomplishment and a big stepping stone. He said it’s all downhill from this point on.

“A lot of people said I would never get past 10,” he said.

Drake said that when he first told her about his goal of 100 triathlons, her initial reaction was “You are doing this in 2009, right?” She said that he had already started training, but she knew the only way he’d be able to follow through with his goal would be to work on endurance.

“I have to admit, I wondered how he would have everything organized in six months and also wondered if he had the mental strength to pull this off.” Drake said. “He is doing a great job and is extremely positive every time we talk.”

Since the tour has begun, Drake has kept in contact with Curtin about his progress. She said she always gives him suggestions and encourages him to keep his focus on finishing each day and getting to the 100th race.

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