I am sure you missed it or your eye didn’t catch it, the name didn’t resonate when you stumbled across it in the back of your newspaper or on the fifth page of a Google search of last Friday’s news. However, for me it was front and center.
Jim MacLaren was dead at the age of 47.
Although sadden by the event, I thought, “How fitting this should happen on Labor Day weekend. Jim taught us to never stop ‘working’ in order to accomplish your dreams.”
When Jim was hit by a New York City bus in 1985, the former lacrosse and football player lost his left leg below the knee. As a sign of his incredible drive and determination, he transformed his former football-player physique (6’ 5” and 300 pounds) to that of an endurance athlete. Undeterred and filled with determination, Jim “worked” relentlessly and became one of the first paratriathletes to complete the Ironman World Championship.
Jim inspired the world with his incredible determination and drive.
He would go on to finish the Ironman World Championship in 1989 in 12:13:50 (three years later he went 10:42:50) and completed the New York City Marathon in 3:16. All were records for amputee athletes and earning him the prestigious honor of being inducted into The Ironman Hall of Fame.
The tales of Jim’s feats could have sufficiently ended with the above. However, in 1993 Jim was hit by a van during another triathlon. Jim was left paralyzed and a quadriplegic. When friends came to visit expressing their sorrow, Jim countered with plans of how he would once again “work” to get back to racing. Thing is, he was never supposed to move or feel below his neck again. I guess they forgot to tell Jim this. He amazed doctors, eventually regaining partial use of his limbs. With money raised from charity events, Jim was provided with a special bike that allowed him to operate and enter a race again.
Jim’s work outside of racing continued in the form of charity and public speaking. He worked to inspire and motivate us all (see: Emmanuel’s Gift) and to find the nobility in the laborious tasks of labor.
As we take the time to celebrate the unofficial end of summer with family and friends, frolic one last time in the pool, picnic and rest our bodies for the changing of the seasons. Pause for a moment and exult in the hard work of life, you and others accomplish daily.
Just set the alarm, because Tuesday it’s back to the laborious grind.
All my best,
The Big STIR
Miami | New York | London