Kailua Kona, HI (PRWEB) April 23, 2011
Mankind has long sought to test the limits of human endurance with feats of conquest. Climbing Mount Everest, the Tour de France, and swimming the English Channel have all presented formidable challenges to those who have accepted the obstacles each of these endeavors has presented. But later this spring, from May 5th through 9th, the current standards in human endurance will be shattered as five athletes attempt to complete five triathlons in just five days during the inaugural EPIC5 Challenge across the Hawaiian Islands.
“This is a spiritual journey,” explains Jason P. Lester, organizer of the EPIC5 and 2009 ESPY award-winning athlete. “While all five of us have completed numerous triathlons throughout our careers, the EPIC5 Challenge will test each one of us physically and mentally, for sure. But it will be the spiritual component that will rally all of us at about the third day. As a group, and individually, we will be united with whatever higher power we believe in. It will take everything we have to complete this 703 mile journey in just five days,” Lester said somberly.
But over-coming challenges is nothing new to the 37-year old Lester, who was left for dead when a women traveling at 70 mph hit him on his bicycle when he was just 12 years old. With 21 broken bones and a paralyzed right arm, Lester faced even more devastation as his father, and sole-guardian, died of a heart attack, while he lay in a hospital bed recovering from his injuries. Despite the over-whelming odds, however, Lester used athletics to overcome the difficulties in his life, playing baseball and football only one year after his accident and making the all-star team.
Lester found his niche in endurance sports, becoming the first challenged athlete to, not only complete the 2009 Ultraman World Championships, but to finish 3rd in his age division. This qualified him for the Ironman World Championships and helped him gain an prestigious ESPY award as the Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
Despite all the accolades, Lester remains a humble man, who uses his athletic prowess as an example to children and adults. He teaches that almost no obstacle in life is too huge to overcome. His Never Stop Foundation in Hawaii is testament to Lester’s commitment to giving back to the children on the islands that have given him so much. The goal of the Foundation is to help those in their formative years find their own true voice, help them build their confidence, improve their communication skills and learn the values of discipline, trust, compassion, self-reliance, and respect.
Joining Lester throughout the EPIC5 Challenge are four other renowned endurance athletes from around the globe. Josef Ajram from Spain has completed 3 Ultramans, 5 Ironmans, and lives by the motto that “Attitude has no limits.” Juan Craveri from Argentina is a soft-spoken man, but has made a lot of noise in endurance sports circle by completed an astounding 23 Ironman competitions throughout his career. Christian Isakson from Portland, Oregon, is the youngest of the participants, whose experience as a fireman lends itself nicely to the help that all the athletes will need while completing this demanding journey. Isakson has also completed 5 Ironmans and 4 marathons in his young career. Chet “The Jet” Blanton is the senior statesman of the group, with an eye-popping 45 Marathons, 80 Ultra Marathons, 15 Ironmans, (2 doubles, 2 triples), and 1 10x Ironman distance race. Despite his vast experience in endurance sports, Blanton admits he is somewhat fearful of the EPIC5, noting that if he makes it through the first day, the rest will be achievable. This core group will be joined by Mike Flarety, who too will try to complete the five day odessey, as well as the Nike Women’s Relay team (Kelly McKean - running; Michelle Macy - swimming; Patty Smaldone - cycling), who will share the duties by completing each leg of the five triathlons. Additionally, William Pruett will join in on the culminating Kona leg of the Epic5 and add a fresh body that will hopefully act as a spark that brings the entire group across the finish line in good spirits.
The EPIC5 Challenge is a five-day event, where each of the athletes will complete at 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycling portion, and a full 26.2 mile marathon on each of the consecutive days. Kaua’i, Hawaii will launch the event on May 5th at 3:00 am, and each participant will have 15 hours to complete the circuit. A plane-ride to Oahu at the end of the day will put the athletes in position to start their second day. On May 7th, Molokai will be the stage for the third leg, with Maui to host the fourth day. The climactic ending will occur on the big island of Hawaii, where the renowned endurance sports venue of Kona will greet the athletes on the final day. Here, they will wrap up the 703 mile trek around midnight on the big island. For more information about this incredible test of the human spirit, you can visit epic5.com.
The EPIC5 Challenge has partnered with MetaBender (http://metabender.com) to provide a unique event experience. MetaBender will provide live GPS tracking of the EPIC5 participants and will broadcast images and video throughout each day of the event to bring the world as close as possible to this incredible journey. The live web based portal is available at http://epic5.com/live.
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