I'm a freaking runner
For the last twenty-two years, Petr Vabrousek has been one of the most consistent athletic performers in the long-distance triathlon. But that consistency, derived from determination, was inside him long before he started competing.
So? Let’s go back to the beginning.
From lazy kid to sporty one
Petr entered the world of sport for the first time. Before that, he was a “sick, weak, lazy kid” -- but with a little encouragement from his parents, his entire life shifted onto a different path. “They brought me to the rowing club,” he recalls. And that’s what changed everything.
It was rowing that turned out to be the first sport to hold his attention, but five years later, at 16 years old, the appeal of triathlon came into focus. Which is precisely the moment Petr’s determination got a whole lot more intense.
For the next three years, he invested in both sports equally; he pushed himself hard in all of his free time, watching as his passion for improvement guided him to victory more and more frequently.
And then he turned 20. Deciding to put all of his time, energy, and training into triathlon, Petr left rowing behind to pursue his competitive edge. And pay off it did. He continued to work hard, push himself, and advance up the rungs of the competitive ladder for eight years -- but in 1998, he was ready for something new.
Something uniquely challenging.
While he’d been comfortably operating within the sphere of short-distance triathlon races, he hadn’t yet tackled the heavier endurance courses of a long-distance race. So that’s exactly what he signed up for. Participating in his first Ironman that same year, something about the heightened mileage and increased stamina requirement filled him with a new wave of excitement.
He wanted to push himself in that type of obstacle course. And so, with that thought propelling him forward, he became hooked.
In 1999, he was the Vice European Champion in the Netherland’s Long Distance Triathlon. In 2000, he won two Ironman races. He’s been a National Champion for various Long Distance Triathlons on five different occasions, and now, after 38 years of racing, he’s won the Ironman over 40 times.
Petr is, in the words of the industry he dominates, a living legend. But to him, simply doing his best -- and winning races -- is never enough. Sure, self-improvement and victory are strong motivators, but they never come close to the motivation of being able to share his insight, and his passions, with the people he loves most.
“Both of my kids race now,”
he tells us, his pride pouring over.
Little Vera, she’s in triathlons and running races. Filip, my son, he does races in running and swimming.”
As he speaks, Petr makes it known that sport is his second priority. His family comes first.
How Peter made it?
And thanks to the lifestyle professional athletics has given him, he’s been able to combine his two loves on a near-daily basis. From training with his children to turning his training camps and races into family vacations, he’s kept up his consistency -- and motivation -- by having his favorite people close by.
“Without question, my family is my proudest accomplishment,” he reveals, though it’s hardly a surprise. “My wife of 25 years and our two kids, they make this,” he says, referring to his unconventional career, “possible.”
And not just possible, but persistently exciting; a major point of exhilaration for Petr came not too long ago, when his son Philip, now 22, joined him on the racecourse. Side by side, the father-and-son duo competed in nearly a handful of different races including the World Marathon Challenge and Swimrun Austria and Czech Republic, to name a few.
Other than being a passionate mentor and sideline fan for his children, Petr also finds time to personally coach a small group of competitive Ironman and ultramarathon athletes. He knows that there’s no victory without generosity and no fulfillment without giving back, so he makes sure to devote training sessions and words of wisdom to those grateful athletes frequently.
And it’s all of those principles, and all of those commitments, that give Petr the motivation he needs to stay ahead of the pack as he enters his 39th year of competing. When we asked him about the three things he never leaves his house without, his answer -- one word -- told us everything we needed to know about his journey.
Quick and assured, he knows his approach -- and has the confidence to execute it perfectly.
“It must have the time,”
"These watches have everything, design suitable for business meetings and after-work, they are made in the mecca of the watch industry, in Switzerland. They charge themselves with your movement, and trees are planted for each piece produced! "
Peter and Sequent
In a watch, he’s looking for much of the same: “It must have the time,” he establishes first and foremost, and we can’t help but emit a laugh. “Beyond that, every bit of data helps: heart-rate, steps, GPS -- for us athletes, it all makes a difference.”
And when it comes to the brands Petr’s most loyal to, they must have the same mentality as he does. “They’ve got to have real love for what they’re doing,” he says. “And they do. Which is why I stay loyal to them.”
To close out our time with Petr, we asked him for a final definition of happiness. Based on his own life and his own philosophies, what does being happy -- truly happy -- mean to him?
“Getting to share it all with your loved ones,” he responded. Succinct, earnest, powerful. Just as he is on the racecourse -- and just as he is in life.
Don’t change a thing!
Bubu (our bat!)
Your Last Meal?
Your favorite Sequent watch