in talk with
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.
At 11 years old
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.