A 26-year-old Canadian man has become the youngest person to complete an IRONMAN on six continents. Instead of a coach, he used YouTube.
In just a few years, Connor Emeny went from aspiring triathlete to world record-holder for the youngest person to complete an IRONMAN on six continents.
On May 29, Emeny completed IRONMAN Brazil, making South America his sixth and final continent. At 26 years old, the Canadian athlete broke the previous record by 6 years. He had completed IRONMAN events in New Zealand, Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, and South America (Antarctica has no official IRONMAN).
Before he headed to Brazil, Emeny did an interview with CP24 News. When asked if he has a mantra to help him through the most challenging moments, Emeny explained his jersey. Beneath the phrase “Got Your Back,” the jersey’s number 6 is a mosaic of 84 names. They represent the people “who have inspired me and believed in me,” Emeny said.
“So I remember that this goal is bigger than myself, and I’m doing it for everyone else out there as well,” he said.
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Finding His IRONMAN Goal
Emeny started doing IRONMAN challenges while in college. According to Triathlon Magazine Canada, he and a few friends tried out for the IRONMAN team at Ontario’s Queens University. Emeny made the team.
He completed his first full IRONMAN in New Zealand in March 2020. According to the magazine, Emeny had moved to Auckland six months earlier thanks to a transfer from Uber, where he worked. Knowing nobody in the city, he spent his mornings shuttling scooters around town, then trained in the afternoons. Instead of hiring a coach, Emeny used YouTube to find biking, swimming, and running tutorials.
Soon after he finished IRONMAN New Zealand, COVID-19 halted most sporting events. While in lockdown, Emeny decided to become the youngest person to complete IRONMAN on six continents. Jackie Faye held the mark at the time, setting it as a 32-year-old in 2018. In general, few athletes have completed an IRONMAN on six continents.
It took Emeny a little over 2 years from his first IRONMAN to break Faye’s record, dealing with the logistical nightmare of training and competing during a global pandemic.
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“I am doing this very responsibly, not neglecting what is going on or being naive … there is never a perfect time to go after what you want to do; you just have to go after it right now,” Emeny told blogTO in January 2021.
When he finished IRONMAN Brazil, Emeny wrote on Instagram that he always defeated fatigue with thoughts of loved ones.
“I thought of so many people throughout the race that had my back this whole journey. Each time my mind entered the pain cave, I thought of a conversation, person, or place that’s believed, inspired, or encouraged me,” Emeny wrote. “I learned we are bulletproof when surrounded by an army of incredible people.”