The Triathlete Hour: Why Matt Hanson Quit A Career in Academia Six Months Shy of Tenure

Now he's won five Ironmans and recorded the fastest non-branded Iron-distance time.

Photo: Kenny Withrow

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This week we talk with five-time Ironman champ Matt Hanson. He’s one of the fastest runners in the sport and one of the smartest guys. He tells us all about how he only did his first triathlon because it was on a list of ’50 Goals in the Next 10 Years’ his wrestling coach in high school made him write, how he qualified for Kona in that first race, and how he fell in love with the sport. Six months shy of tenure, but burning the candle at both ends, he gave up his job as a professor of exercise science to go all-in as a pro triathlete. Now he’s won five Ironmans—but he still has one big goal: Kona.

As a former professor of exercise science, Matt also knows a lot about, well, exercise science. He shares some insights he’s learned and fine-tuned. Plus, why it’s OK to heel strike when you run—and how he’s put down the fastest Ironman marathon doing it.

Check out our article on Matt’s run form: Yes, Matt Hanson Heel Strikes (And Maybe You Should Too)

But first, Laura Siddall joins us to chat about the craziness that was the last Olympic auto-qualifying event this past weekend and why it’s a blessing and a headache for U.S. triathlon.

You can see all our coverage of the race:

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