Inside Traihtlon - The Multisport Life

America’s Tri For Health™ on Labor Day

Thirteen-year-old youngest to finish iron-distance

Oct 17, 2007

While most middle-school boys spent the morning of Sunday, September 29 reading comics, playing Xbox or dribbling basketballs in their driveway, 13-year-old Hunter Lussi kocked out a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. The eighth-grader from Kensington, Maryland, completed the ChesapeakeMan Ultra-Distance Triathlon in Cambridge, Maryland, making him the youngest-ever iron-distance finisher.

Inspired by his triathlete parents Craig and Jeanette, Lussi raced his first triathlon at age 6, competing in the 500-yard swim-10-mile bike-2.5-mile run Cure Autism Now race. At 10, he convinced the Columbia Triathlon race director to grant him special permission to enter the Olympic-distance event, and in June 2006, Lussi became the youngest half-Ironman finisher after rocking Eagleman Ironman 70.3 in just under eight hours. This past June, Lussi used an 87th-best overall swim of 26:42 to win the under-17 division at Eagleman with a time of 5:43:01, but his young age precluded him from earning an age-group slot in the Ford Ironman world championship 70.3.

Disappointed to miss out on worlds but not defeated, Lussi redirected his training to attempt to become the youngest-ever full-iron-distance race finisher, a distinction held by Michael Collins since 1979, when the then-14-year-old completed the hawaiian Ironman. The resilient Lussi accomplished his goal, finishing all 140.6 miles of ChesapeakeMan in 15:27:26, even as most competitors biked only 106 of 112 miles, as the course had been altered due to forest fires.

Next on the docket for the young multisporter is Junior Olympics swimming schedule this winter and spring and the Youth Elite Cup triathlon series.