From Pack-a-Day Smoker to Everestman Record Holder – Triathlete

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In 2017, Australia Kent Ohori was a daily pack smoker. In 2020 he qualified for Kona on his first Ironman race attempt. In 2022 he completed the fastest Everestman triathlon to date – a challenge involving more than 40 hours of racing the equivalent of three Mount Everests swimming 8,848 meters, cycling 8,848 meters of elevation gain and current at this same altitude.

When Ohori looks back on what he’s accomplished in such a short time, he finds it hard to believe. After all, he had no intention of taking on epic challenges. He just wanted to treat a running injury.

“I used to just run, but found my love for cycling due to an overuse injury that forced me to hang up running shoes for six weeks,” Ohori said. “During the recovery, I also started swimming, which led to me signing up for my first race.”

That’s not to say Ohori’s transition to triathlon was smooth. “The hardest part was getting started,” he said. “It really takes a lot of willpower and a strong ‘why’ to overcome the pain that comes with the first training sessions.” Even after getting her bearings with swimming and cycling, Ohori admits her first run after her injury was still a mental setback. (“I felt like my lungs were about to collapse.”) Still, there was something about pushing that was immensely satisfying. Even more satisfying was crossing the finish line of her first triathlon, an Olympic distance at Mooloolaba on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Immediately after, he signed up and raced a 70.3, then a full Ironman, where he placed second in his age group and earned a spot in the World Championship race.

What else could he do if he did? The question swirled in his brain every day, prompting him to get up every morning and train for his next challenge, whatever it was. When races were canceled during the height of the COVID pandemic, Ohori took on the Everesting Challenges, where he hiked or raced routes that racked up 8,848 meters of elevation gain (the height of Mount Everest). Then he heard of endurance athlete Vaid Mayank completing a new challenge of his own invention, Everest Man. In this Everesting-meets-Ironman format, the athlete races against the clock while accumulating Everst’s 8,848 vertical meters in each of the three triathlon disciplines. (Because it is not possible to gain elevation by swimming, this stage of the challenge is only 8,848 meters long, or 5.4 miles.) When Vaid completed the challenge, he done in 71 hours and 7 minutes, with 55 hours of travel. weather. Ohori thought he could beat that and set a new Everestman record.

In January 2022, Ohori headed to a local reservoir in his hometown of Brisbane to start the challenge. After completing the 8,848-meter swim in 2 hours and 30 minutes, he headed to nearby Mount Coo-Tha for up-and-down reps, first on the bike, where he climbed 8,848 meters over 126 miles in 13 hours and 38 minutes, then that same drop on foot over 62 miles in 23 hours and 7 minutes. In a total elapsed time of 40 hours (which includes a 30-minute nap), Ohori became the second person to complete the Everestman Challenge and the record holder.

For Ohori, the mental challenge was just as intense as the physical. Doing it in the height of the Australian summer, when temperatures reached over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, left Ohori dealing with a host of complications, including dehydration and loss of appetite. “I remember at some point early in the morning of the second day, I had to force myself to eat two McMuffins and four hash browns, even though I wasn’t hungry,” Ohori said. “It’s such a strange feeling to lose my appetite, because I’m usually always hungry.”

But the challenge also gave Ohori time and space to reflect on a lot of things, in particular, how far he had come just five years ago. I was lucky to have this injury,” he said. “There are so many people these days who are really pushing the boundaries of what we perceive humanly possible and that was, at the time, my unique way of pushing my limits.”

As with every race Ohori has conquered, a crossed finish line leads to the start line of a new challenge. In May, he will attempt to complete an Everesting cycling challenge in five states along Australia’s east coast in seven days. Along the way, he will raise funds and awareness LIVINa charity that aims to reduce the stigma of talking about mental health.

“Just knowing that whatever you’re thinking is out of your realm of possibility, think about it again,” Ohori said. “We are all capable of more than we can imagine.”

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