Can you imagine swimming 2.4 miles and riding 112 miles with 1 hand? Me neither! However, despite having only 1 hand, Jim Williamson knew he could do it.

So, with the support of his family and a little guidance from his coaches, Jim set out to prove, “anything is possible!”


Jim’s First IRONMAN Triathlon

Jim first contacted us in August of 2018 with the goal of doing his first IRONMAN. In the past, he had successfully completed several shorter triathlons including IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City as well as a few marathons.

He planned to target IRONMAN Louisville in October of 2019. This would give him about 12 months to prepare.

On race day he was 100% prepared and ready to rock! However, due to reasons outside of his control, the swim portion of the race was cancelled.  Yes, it was disappointing for us all, but Jim had done the work and he had already proved what he was capable of.

Part of triathlon is learning to roll with the punches and that is exactly what Jim did. Ultimately, he crossed the finish line with a triumphant smile on his face and he will forever be able to call himself an “IRONMAN.”

Below is a quick Q & A with Jim on his IRONMAN journey. We hope you enjoy and find it inspiring.


Q & A with Jim

How and why did you get into triathlon? 

It was probably about 13 years ago.  I was a runner and had done a few marathons, but my knees started bothering me, so I decided to begin cross training to lessen the impact of the pounding from running.  I started with duathlons because I couldn’t swim.  Eventually bought Total Immersion and I was off and swimming.


Why did you decide to hire a coach and more specifically RTA to help prepare you for your races?

I wanted to do a full Ironman after doing a half and a number of other races.  I volunteered at Louisville in 2018 and decided that was the one. I wanted to finish it and do it right. 

I searched and asked people online and RTA kept coming up.  Coach Elizabeth reached out almost immediately.  We had a great conversation and I liked her witty retorts, so it seemed like a good fit.


You recently completed IRONMAN Louisville, what was that like?

Incredible!  The finish at 4th street is electrifying.  It was a crazy emotional week leading up to the race filled with anxiety, fear, excitement and finally elation. I’m still riding that high!


What was the best part of the race?

Well, finishing of course and having my wife there to put the medal around me.  The patience and support of my team helped as they all understood what the goal was.  But it was the little things that were awesome,… like finishing the bike course 52 minutes quicker than we thought I would.  And, the volunteers at the last aid station cheering you on because they know you are going to finish.  And the IPA after I finished.  So many things.


What was the worst/hardest part of the race and how did you overcome it?

2 things: 

The swim getting canceled due to toxic algae in the Ohio River and seeing runners on the course at mile 110 of the bike. 

  • The swim getting canceled, sucked, but after speaking with my wife and Coach E I felt I was ready for this and we would see the results.
  • At mile 110 of the bike I was so proud of my time. But then I saw the runners out on the course, and it was like “Oh shit, I gotta run a marathon now!”  I knew the course and compartmentalized it down to the three 8+ mile loops.  That helped me manage the overwhelming thought of “a marathon.”


What will you do differently next time (if anything)?

*Swim :-)

*The swim was canceled when Jim raced)


What was going through your head when you crossed the finished line?

My father. He had passed suddenly in July and I wasn’t even sure if I would continue to train.  However, knowing he’d be so proud, helped me push on. 

So, it was the thought of my father, the loving support of my wife and family, and the utter satisfaction of knowing that I did it.

The 52 weeks of training produced the desired results!


Any general advice you’d give to others thinking about doing a 70.3 or IRONMAN?

Do It!  If you are even slightly interested, do it.  I can’t express to you the feeling once you cross that finish line at both distances. Hearing them call your name and then “You are an Ironman” hits you deep inside.  If you think you can’t…you can.  Anything is possible but it takes hard work and if you (and your family) are willing to put the time in you will hear those words too.


Any other comments about triathlon, or your IRONMAN Louisville or training in general?

The training is harder than the race.  Trust your training and believe that you can do it.  The mental side is such a huge part.  I am a mental case before races, but Coach E and RTA really helped me in that aspect.  And, if you can, get a coach.  I was pushed harder than I would have gone, I learned more than I could have on my own and knowing that you had the team behind you made all the difference. 



With hard work, dedication and perseverance Jim proved IRONMAN’s mantra, “anything is possible,” to be true. We couldn’t be prouder of Jim for his total commitment and ultimately his success through our 52 weeks of working together. Jim, “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”




Are you interested in doing something EPIC? We work with a variety people with all kinds of goals. Whether you want to prepare for your FIRST triathlon (or run race), looking to go FURTHER and/or go FASTER. OR simply get in the BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE… we want to help YOU!

Learn more about RTA triathlon / run coaching HERE and contact us for a FREE, no obligation training consult.

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