BLACKFOOT – It’s official –– 33-year-old Josh Sorensen is an Iron Man. He completed the Arizona Iron Man in November with a time of 11 hours and 11 minutes.
Sorensen’s road to Iron Man was quite unintentional. Five years ago Sorensen, who is an eighth grade social studies teacher at Snake River Junior High, sat bored along the edge of the Blackfoot Swimming Pool supervising students while they swam every Monday as part of an after-school program. One day, he decided to use the time and began swimming laps himself.
The 2.4-mile swim, the shortest portion of the Iron Man, became Sorensen’s gateway to a new way of life. Soon he was running, biking, swimming and training.
“A guy I was working with said ‘you ought’a try a triathlon,’ so I tried the Blackfoot one,” said Sorensen. “Then I set the goal to try a bigger one every year.”
He became a man with a plan and he stuck to it. Sacrificing sleep and leisure Sorensen set a five-year plan, culminating in his successful completion of the Arizona Iron Man.
An Iron Man event consists of a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and concludes with a 26.2-mile run.
“I told my students that I wanted the combo platter – to finish and not die,” jokes Sorensen.
He set other goals, all of which he accomplished. Then just weeks before the event he says he decided to set a “shoot for the moon goal” and go for the perfect run, the perfect swim, and the perfect bike ride. He may have reached the moon, if it wasn’t for a bike crash mid-race.
“About 95 miles into the bike I wrecked, and it was totally my fault,” said Sorensen. “I ran into the back of a lady; she had no idea it was coming, and we both went down hard. I was more worried about her than anything.”
He helped the woman back up, fixed his own bike and with adrenaline surging continued on.
“I didn’t feel any pain until the aid station when they put sunblock in it.”
Injured, Sorensen proceeded to run his fastest time ever.
“It is inspiring to watch,” said Sorensen’s wife Amy. “It’s emotional. You know how hard they work and you can’t help but think ‘I want to do that.’ There were people [at Iron Man] of every shape and size and different ages. We saw one guy with only one leg, another was a paraplegic. You watch and realize it’s in your head and you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.”
Sorensen plans to run several triathlons this summer and is excited for the new Tommy Vaughn’s Marathon in Blackfoot this May.
“It’s a big sense of accomplishment –– it’s addictive. It’s hard to replicate the emotion before, after and during a race,” said Sorensen. “The finish line is packed with people, music’s on the loudspeaker, people are cheering—and you know it’s for you. I thrive on it.”
You can read more about Sorensen’s Iron Man adventure in the January/February issue of Bingham Magazine available free of charge in the Morning News office and around Bingham County. The new issue will be available Jan. 2.