What started with a dare has led to more than 20 Ironman finishes for this go-getter. 

For someone who has crossed the loud, bright, and high-octane finish line of an Ironman more than 20 times, Ron Trunick’s start in triathlon was anything but glamorous. “My first triathlon was in 1986,” Trunick says. “I was a freshman at the University of Oregon, and some dorm friends all dared one another to do a triathlon in a small neighboring town. It was cold and wet, and there were no aid station volunteers, so the race director set the cups on the pavement, which were collecting rain water.”

Trunick estimates only 50 people did the race, and he claims to have finished “nearly last.” But the grit and self-reliance of the sport jived perfectly with his personality. He was hooked. Some 23 Ironman races later (including six Kona finishes), Trunick, 51, is still going strong.

“Ironman requires hyper-discipline, organization, and planning—and it will reward you if you put in the hard work. There are no shortcuts to achieving success in Ironman,” he says. That philosophy spills over into his career as well. As co-founder of Plant Works Nutrition, a small start-up that develops plant-based protein powders for athletes, Trunick wears a lot of hats on any given day: product developer, taste-tester, marketing whiz, order fulfillment, and answerer of customer emails. It’s hard work, but also a labor of love—much like his approach to Ironman training.

“The confidence that builds and the energy that flows while training also transfers to my life outside of triathlon. I think it forces structure and efficiency. Ironman demands respect, and if you don’t put in the physical and mental homework, it will eat you up. I feel the same about achieving success in business, especially with a start-up.”

Ron Trunick’s Rules for Making It Work

Rule #1:

Remember that your family, friends, and colleagues are part of your training journey, too. “My wife Jaimi is my biggest cheerleader. I’m thankful every day for her role in my quest.”

Rule #2:

Don’t let triathlon consume you. “When I first started in the sport, I lived and breathed it, and I almost burned out.”

Rule #3:

Don’t stress about missing a workout. “Life happens, and frankly, the body could probably use the rest.”

Rule #4:

Have an off-season. “Stay active, but do different activities, and do them with family and friends.”

A Day in the Life of Ron Trunick

5:45 A.M.
Wake, breakfast, coffee
6:15 A.M.
Co-founders’ conference call
6:45 A.M.-11:30 A.M.
Work from home office
11:45 A.M.-1:00 P.M.
Swim session (M/W/F); run workout (T/Th)
1:15 P.M.-1:45 P.M.
Working lunch
1:45 P.M.-5:15 P.M.
Work in Plant Works office
5:15 P.M.-6:45 P.M.
Bike workout (M/W/Th); run workout (F)
6:45 P.M.
Dinner with Jaimi and relax
10:00 P.M.
Bed