Endurance in races...and in life!

By: Greg J., Ohio

My wife and I met on the pool deck in high school around 2000. We both played water polo and swam for Sycamore High School and went separate ways. I played and swam for Gannon University and she went and played for Indiana University. After one year I decided to transfer to Ohio University and played water polo with my brother.

She and I stayed in close contact and dated on and off. After college I chose a water polo coaching path and coach’s for Salem International and then Washington and Jefferson College. I left coaching and went into medical software back in Cincinnati and Jaclyn started teaching high school Biology and coached Princeton High School Water Polo and Loveland High School Swimming. I started officiating collegiate club, USA and high school water polo which I have done for 7 years.

We got married in 2012 and just celebrated our 8th year anniversary. I would absolutely say that water polo and swimming kept us in touch and eventually brought us together to get married.

ironman athletesOur story: Jaclyn and I have competed in a combined total of 52 marathons. These have included full Ironman triathlons (3 a piece), ultra marathons, and regular 26.2 mile races. I have a goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states and surpassed state 26 last November.

In 2016 we entered the Ironman Wisconsin race. This was not our first time doing an Ironman has we did Louisville twice before in 2010 and 2014 however never did Wisconsin before. New course and farther from home there were a lot of unknowns and we both agreed to compete it together. Swim, Bike, Run. Together.

After the swim we met at the transition before getting on the bikes and road the entire 112 bike course together. It was hot and extremely hilly in Madison, WI. Starting the run she started feeling uneasy and stated, “Greg, I don’t think I can finish but you need to for this to count as a state....you keep going and I am just going to see what happens”. It was tough to do but I left her and kept moving.

She was right. I continued for the next 20 miles always looking for Jaclyn as there were plenty of out and backs on the run course. The run course even went through and on the field of the University of Wisconsin football stadium. I never saw her. I kept looking and just prayed she was okay.

ironmanMy parents came up for the race and support us and once I crossed the finish line my priority was not celebrating my finish but finding her. I immediately found my parents and asked where she was. They hadn’t seen her. My dad was tracking us on his phone but the Ironman app stopped working about 30 minutes ago but she was on the course. She didn’t ever stop. I said I’m going to hobble backwards on the course and find her and bring her in. We were close to the final cutoff and I wanted to help. I needed to help her.

As soon as I left my parents my dad said the app was working and she was only 20 minutes away!!! She crossed the finish line and I couldn't be more proud of her. She just needed time to be by herself after ‘dealing’ with me for 8 hours prior. She maintained the same pace I did after we split on the marathon portion and she kept going. I was ecstatic for both of us.

Swimming and water polo and endurance racing has made us stronger and supportive of each other for many years. There are many challenging races that we have overtaken and continue to grow closer.

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