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Beachbody’s “Make Me an Ironman” contest gives six everyday athletes the celebrity experience.
Jason Glazier remembers the first time he learned of the Ironman triathlon while watching TV as a child: “I thought about how awesome it looked, but truly scary. It seemed so far out of my comfort zone that it never occurred to me a possibility.”
Decades later, 43 year-old Glazier was scrolling through his Facebook feed when he saw an advertisement for a contest: “Make Me an Ironman.” The contest, launched by Beachbody Performance in November 2016, offered a chance to win everything one would need to complete an Ironman in the next year, including entry fees, coaching, gear, and nutrition.
Glazier submitted his application on a lark, thinking nothing would come of it. “I didn’t allow myself to get too excited, because things happen,” recalls Glazier. “But when I received notice that I won, I was ecstatic because of the amazing journey in front of me. I am so excited to get started!”
Glazier is one of six winners selected from the more than 2,000 entries in Beachbody’s “Make Me an Ironman” contest. After years of seeing Ironman give away free entries, coaching and gear to celebrities, Beachbody proposed the opposite: Why not give everyday athletes the VIP treatment?
“Instead of choosing famous Olympic athletes for a shot at an Ironman, Beachbody Performance is giving the triathlon experience of a lifetime to regular athletes,” says Gordon Wright, PR representative for Beachbody Performance. “That’s the whole aim of the program, really—to make the most iconic race distance more accessible and affordable.”
In addition to a free entry to their local Ironman race, the contest winners receive free Ironman U coaching, a Quintana Roo bike, ROKA wetsuit, Pearl Izumi cycling shoes, HOKA running shoes, Zoot Apparel, Rudy Project helmet and sunglasses, and ample training nutrition from Beachbody Performance.
“Part of me still doesn’t really believe it,” says 60 year-old Anne Griner Parkhurst of Buckeye, Ariz. “I am so honored to be chosen and intend to make the most of this opportunity for myself and for others. Due to my age and that I just got started in my late 50s, I remember when my goal was just to do a sprint. Then it was just to do an Olympic. I thought doing a full Ironman was overreaching for me.”
Though the prize package provides most everything one will need to train for their Ironman, actually crossing the finish line is contingent upon the work done between now and race day. To maximize these preparations, each contest winner can select a coach from Ironman U, the event’s coaching certification branch.
“With novice athletes, there tends to be much more teaching of the finer points of the sport and all the intricacies of Ironman racing,” says coach Dave Latourette, who will oversee Glazier’s training. “I believe it’s important to arm them with as much information and knowledge possible.”
For all six winners, information and knowledge has been coming full speed since the day they won.
“The most surprising piece is learning how to eat effectively,” says 28 year-old contest winner Heather Sonley of Madison, Wisc. “Because you work out so much, all you want to do is eat an entire breakfast buffet. I’ve been learning how to eat to fuel rather than eat to satisfy.”
“Ironman prep is far more mental than one may believe,” says Glazier of the most surprising lesson he’s learned to date. “So many focus on the physical aspect, which is tough, but mentally it is much harder.”
“The triathlon community is so positive and supportive,” says Parkhurst. “I don’t think the excitement will die down until I cross the finish line. I am excited to be a part of this journey and following the other five participants in theirs.”
Meet the Beachbody Performance “Make Me an Ironman” Contest winners: