Fayetteville Resident is an Ultraman Champion
Last weekend in British Columbia, Fayetteville resident Stephen Ray Stafford won an Ultraman competition and set two course records along the way. That’s a six-mile swim, a 260-mile bike ride and a 52-mile run in three days.
What’s even more incredible is that this was Stafford’s first ever Ultraman experience.
“I’m trying to challenge myself to see if I can find where the limit is of ‘ok I can’t go any further than this,’” said Stafford.
He has yet to find that limit.
“For me it’s pushing the limits. I get so much of a thrill out of that in putting myself in so much pain and such a hurt box that it keeps me going. That’s what keeps me motivated.”
People look at the number of miles Ultraman athletes have to endure and say why put yourself through that. It’s something Stafford says builds character. It can define who you are.
“You can get in that position and say ‘I’m done. I quit.’ If you’re able to go through the suffering and build character and perseverance through that, you really learn so much about yourself and your character and really who you are in those true moments.”
And to think six years ago, Stafford didn’t own a bike. He didn’t like to run. He barely knew how to swim.
“I could only swim one length of the pool and I had to stop. I was totally out of breath. So again, I’m one of those who if you ask me if you can do it, I’ll say ‘oh you bet anyone can do it.’”
A guy with a basketball background, he slowly built himself up; triathlons, ironsmans, double ironmans and now ultramans. . His ultimate goal is to do 30 ironmans in 30 days. That’s a two and a half- mile run, 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run, all in one day for a month straight.
“I go into every day, every race saying this could be the last one. Until it’s no fun anymore and I’m not motivated then I’ll stop. “
But that day doesn’t look like it will come any time soon. Stafford’s goals go beyond pushing his own limits.
“I want to show people that the human body is capable of doing so much more and there’s things I want to do to show people, to truly amaze them.”
Stafford’s next race will be a double ironman in Virginia in two months. That’s a 4.8-mile swim, 224-mile bike ride and a 52-mile run….all in one day.