Mike Greer: A true IRONMAN
Triathlons started in the mid-70s. Ten years later, one triathlete fell in love with the sport.
Mike Greer ran anywhere from 40 to 80 miles a week in the 80s. He had more than 30 marathons under his belt. One day a friend tried to get him into triathlons and he thought, "Maybe cross-training into the sport triathlon will help my body last longer."
He wasn't sold on the swimming portion, but one day he hopped into his backyard pool and started doing laps.
"I swam 161 lengths, got on my bicycle and rode up and down the loop access road. Then I had a five mile course around my house, so I did my own triathlon," he said.
His first triathlon was in 1985. He just wanted to get through it.
"Then I was hooked."
According to Greer, the average triathlete ran three or four triathlons a year. He ran 21. It took him to 17 states, three countries and he swam in all five oceans.
"I started writing them all down just for my own information. You open up the drawer and it's just day timers. And I really didn't take it serious til I got to about keeping count until 250," he said.
Seven of the races were true IRONMANs, two were the world championships in Kona, Hawaii. Until last year, he was eight away from 400.
"I had a stroke after the 392nd event," Greer said.
According to Greer, the recovery made him more determined to complete eight more races.
"I don't know of anybody at the age of 79 that had a stroke and then went ahead and completed eight triathlons to get to 400. Because then 400 became a big deal," he added.
The called them the hardest of all 400 and his biggest accomplishment. He believes his switch from marathons to triathlons helped his recover and kept him in shape. He still has plans to race in more, but isn't in any rush.
Greer also started the Buffalo Springs IRONMAN in 1990. He continues to run it with his wife Marti.
"The hardest triathlon I've ever done is right here," Greer claimed. He said the elements like wind, heat and altitude give the best triathletes problems. It's one of the reasons why it's a qualifier for the world championship.
This year, Lubbock will host the IRONMAN for the first time.