... refers to bull riding with the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) as his “dream second career”?
Cameron Dye. “I’ve always taken the stance, ‘I have good balance, I’m athletic, I could ride a bull. How hard could it be?’” said the consistent first-place finisher at high-profile short-course events. Photo: Nils Nilson
... sucked her thumb until she was 16 years old?
Sarah Piampiano. “It took me a long time to stop,” said the Ironman 70.3 champion. “My parents would entice me. They'd say, ‘We’ll take you to Florida to Disney World if you stop sucking your thumb.’ So I'd stop, they’d take me to Disney World, we’d get home and I’d start sucking my thumb again. But finally I went away to boarding school and I couldn’t really suck my thumb anymore.” Photo: Susan McManus | Premier Event Management
... considers it good luck to pet a dog before a race?
Jessica Jacobs. “That’s something that I kind of get excited about. If I see a dog as I’m heading over to the swim start, I pet him. There’s just something calming about an animal,” said the three-time Ironman champion. Photo: Finisherpix.com
... once dreamed of being a fighter pilot?
Dylan McNeice. The Kiwi long-course star, who recently defended his title at Challenge Wanaka, was considering flight school at the same time his triathlon career started to take off. But triathlon turned out to be the more practical choice. “We don’t have an air force in New Zealand,” said McNeice, “So it would have been difficult!” Photo: Hannah Johnston | Getty Images
Yvonne Van Vlerken
... is the self-proclaimed World Champion of Sleep?
Yvonne Van Vlerken. “I average 9-10 hours every night. I can even do 11 hours! I have two magical stones that are from my mental coach. Every evening I put them in my hands, I have some things that I do in my head and then I put the stones away. Then I put my head on the pillow and in one minute I am asleep for 10 hours,” said the six-time iron-distance champion. Photo: Getty Images
... has a penchant for naming his pet chickens after his training partners?
Richie Cunningham. Read about Rev3 and Ironman 70.3 Champion Cunningham and his chickens in our April 2012 Dispatch.
... learned a critical lesson in pacing as a five or six year old during an eight-kilometer fun run with her father?
Belinda Granger. “I remember Dad saying, ‘Now Belinda, there will be people that take off really quickly. But this is not a sprint race. You need to pace yourself. Promise me you will not go out like a crazy girl,’” said Granger, veteran of 49 iron-distance races, including 14 wins. “’Yeah, yeah, yeah. Of course, Dad,’ I said. Well, I went off like a maniac doing a 100-meter sprint. I made it to the two-kilometer mark running and then Dad had to basically drag my sorry butt around the remaining six-kilometers. He did not let me pull the pin. I must have said a hundred times, ‘I can’t do it Daddy!’ But he said, ‘I told you about this and you didn’t listen. You are finishing.’ Maybe that’s when the seed was set — I was always destined to do long course and to learn to be patient and pace myself.” Photo: Phil Walter | Getty Images for Challenge Wanaka
... starred on a reality TV dating show in the U.K.?
James Hadley. In 2011, Hadley, a frequent short-course and half iron-distance podium contender, was the lone bachelor among 30 women on the show “Take Me Out.” Photo: Rob Hammer
... was a contestant on a “Survivor”-style reality TV show in New Zealand?
Terenzo Bozzone. The 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champion enjoyed a stint on “Celebrity Treasure Island” in 2004. Photo: Delly Carr
... races without a watch in favor of his own internal pacing?
James Cunnama. “Going without a watch allows me to get more in tune with my body. The downside is that I am blissfully unaware of records and times whilst racing,” said Cunnama, shortly after breaking the eight-hour barrier en route to winning the 2012 Challenge Roth in 7:59:59.