Iron Cowboy is an endurance memoir in the tradition of Dean Karnazes’s Ultramarathon Man—a lifetime’s worth of intensely lived experience packed into twenty riveting chapters written by Matt Fitzgerald, one of America's best sports narrative writers. Readers will discover the secret to redefining their own goals and achieving great success.
When James Lawrence (aka the Iron Cowboy) announced his plan to complete 50 long distance triathlons in 50 consecutive days in all 50 states, the only person who believed that he could pull it off was James himself (and his wife, Sunny). A long distance triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. In Lawrence’s case, he would have to complete those distances and then make it to the next state in time to do it all over again the next day. Even Lawrence’s coach didn’t think he could do it; he penciled in another event the day Lawrence was supposed to complete the challenge. But with the support of Sunny and their five children in tow, and with grassroots support conjured always at the last minute via Facebook, Lawrence accomplished exactly what he set out to do. Iron Cowboy is the story of Lawrence’s herculean 50-day journey and all the wonderful, miserable, and life-threatening events that happened along the way, as well as a glance at his life leading up to the mission, and winning two prior world records.
Lawrence holds two world records in the Guinness Book of World Records: one for completing 22 half-distance triathlons in one year (2010) and one for completing 30 full distance triathlons in one year (2012). In 2015, he set a record for completing 50 long distance triathlon distances in 50 states in 50 days. Through social media and press, Lawrence was able to find fans in each state—anywhere from 3 to 500 people—to complete some of the long distance triathlons alongside him, and supporters were invited to join him for the Iron Cowboy 5k (the last 3.1 miles of James’s marathon); for his last long distance triathlon in his home state of Utah, more than 3,500 people showed up. Along the way, Lawrence survived tropical storms, internal bleeding, hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration, nerve damage, infected foot blisters, a blood-clot scare, extreme sleep deprivation (he only got four to five hours of sleep each night), and a bike crash—and because he’s Mormon he did it all without coffee!