Page 1 of 1 [ 2 posts ] 

ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,662
Location: Long Island, New York

23 Jun 2022, 10:20 am

Autistic athlete aims for first IRONMAN first

Quote:
This weekend will see the latest significant step in Sam Holness‘ ground-breaking triathlon journey.

The 29-year-old will become the first openly autistic athlete to compete in Sunday’s IRONMAN European Championship in Frankfurt, just as he was at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship last September.

The Brit is now taking on double the distance (3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run) in what’s his first full-distance race as he continues to challenge the stereotypes for those with neurodiversity.

“I am really excited for my first IRONMAN; I want to give it my best effort and get a great time. More than that, I want to show the world what athletes with autism can do,” says Sam of Sunday’s showpiece event.

And that dual focus was also very much to the fore when we spoke to Sam’s father Tony Holness ahead of his son’s IRONMAN debut.

He said: “Sam has been entirely focused on training for this race over the past six months and he is ready.”

The one thing that has been an ongoing concern are the GI challenges. So we’ve talked through things, like, if you do have gut issues, just stop or walk. I think that’s the main thing that he’s got to know. It’s okay to walk and recover and go again.

“I think we’ve cracked it, hopefully. I spoke to Chris at Precision Hydration and I sent him a plan for the race and he came back with some ideas which we’re going to incorporate.

“Physically, physiologically, he’s fine. He can do this. We’ve broken it down, so he finishes well.”

We’ve spoken before about Sam’s autism being a “superpower”, giving him a laser-focus to his training and relishing the repetitive nature of it.

But that can also bring its own challenges within a race environment, Tony adding: “It just takes him a little bit more time at transition, just to make sure he’s comfortable to go into the next section. But the more he does it, the easier it gets. That’s all. It’s like everybody else, but sounds meticulous. And because of that, sometimes it’s misconstrued that he’s being slow.”


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,662
Location: Long Island, New York

29 Jun 2022, 8:50 am

SAM HOLNESS BECOMES WORLD’S FIRST OPENLY AUTISTIC ATHLETE TO COMPLETE AN IRONMAN

Quote:
Britain’s Sam Holness has become the world’s first openly autistic endurance athlete to complete an Ironman at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany.

Sam completed the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and full marathon in 12 hours and 29 minutes on Sunday 26 June. Lining up against some of the best athletes in the world, Sam made a confident start in the water with a 1:04hr swim

Despite suffering from gastric intestinal issues, Sam then posted an impressive 6:15:44 for the hilly 180km loop, which included 1,934m of elevation.

Next up was the marathon run, which despite the punishing heat he completed to make history as the first openly autistic endurance athlete to complete an Ironman.

On finishing Sam said: “This is the greatest day of my life; I am now an Ironman Man! Iron Sam the Triathlete sounds good. I am determined that I will never stop doing this.

“It was a really tough and hot race, but I kept going even though it hurt a lot.”

In October, Sam hopes to complete another Ironman first for an athlete with ASD by competing at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman