Fred Horwood '87

 

The Extra Mile

%888%right%Fred Horwood '87 is the kind of guy who goes the extra mile. Not just one, mind you,more like 140.6 of them. That's a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and, to cap it off, a 26.2-mile marathon before crossing the finish line.

That's what Horwood took on when he competed in the Hawaiian IronMan last October, an event that took place in and around Kailua-Kona on the Hawaiian coast. He was one of 1,700 competitors from 50 countries taking part in the race, which is widely believed to be one of the world's most grueling sports tests of training and endurance.

While he biked through the lava fields of Kona, "I looked around and thought, 'I can't believe I'm here. This is the pinnacle," Horwood said. "Swimming in the Pacific Ocean without a wetsuit; watching the fishermen,it was beautiful."

Beautiful and extraordinarily difficult.

"People always ask me, 'How many days do you have to do that?'" he said with a laugh. "I say, 'Uh, it's all done in one day.'" The cutoff time for competitors is 17 hours; top pros finish in under nine hours.

It might sound as if people would have to be paid handsomely before they would agree even to participate in such a punishing event. In fact, it's an honor to even be allowed to enter. Some 50,000 competitors attempt to qualify for IronMan races worldwide, but there are a limited number of available spots, which are designated by age group.

%889%left%Before the Hawaiian challenge, Horwood had competed in two IronMan triathlons. He completed his first in 10 hours and 55 minutes and then managed to shave 16 minutes off his time nine months later in Lake Placid. But the Hawaiian IronMan had been a specific goal of his for a long time,dating back to his years at Colby.

"I did a triathlon in 1985 in Reston, Virginia, where I grew up," he said. "I spent the summer training, drove all my stuff up to Colby, then turned around and drove back. During that time, I was learning about the IronMan. And I thought to myself, 'Some day, when I turn forty, I want to do one in Hawaii.'"

With that goal in mind, Horwood spent years doing road and bike races, and, in 1997, the New York Marathon.

"I just wanted to see if I could do a marathon," he said. "You learn a lot the first time you do an endurance race."

He clocked in at 11:15 in Hawaii, the slowest time of the previous competitions he's participated in. "I had to remind myself, I'm forty years old, and I'm not here to win," said Horwood, whose family came to Hawaii to cheer him on.

When he's not biking, swimming, running, or generally pushing himself to the maximum limit, Horwood works as a real estate lawyer for Time Inc., the publishing division of Time Warner. He combines a disciplined training regimen with family life. He lives in Scarsdale, N.Y., with his wife, Gail (Glickman) '86, and daughters, Bridget, 9, and Lila, 5.

"It's hard to balance life, work, family, and training," he said. "I try not to let it interfere with my life too much. I train about ten to twenty hours a week. To fit in twenty hours of training, there's not much else you can do,it's not like I watch a lot of TV. But I definitely have more energy, and I find that the days I don't work out I feel lethargic."

And after you complete the most challenging IronMan of all, what next?

Another IronMan, of course,Lake Placid in July. "I keep saying this is it, but once you start, it's hard to stop," he said. "I might not do the long-distance stuff for a while; I might do triathlons or go back to bike racing. I keep joking that I'm going to start doing multi-day adventure tests."

,Mackenzie Dawson '99