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Juice Plus+ aids triathlon nutrition with fruit and vegetable nutrients
“Why do I do it? Because people think I can't,” says Jason Fowler of his triathlon racing. Jason overcame a paralyzing motorcycle accident to win an Ironman World Championship. Throughout his wheelchair racing career, he’s used Juice Plus+ as part of his triathlon nutrition to aid muscle function.
Jason Fowler grew up in Kingston, Massachusetts, where he spent most of his childhood on motorcycles and became a nationally ranked amateur racer by age 10. Jason's life was forever changed, however, on March 13, 1991. While riding his motorcycle, he collided with an obscured rock and hit the ground head first, severing his spinal cord in the process. His injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. He was only 17 years old.
In the weeks following the accident, Jason looked toward the future. He insisted that he would be as active as possible, as soon as possible. Competitive racing had been his passion. His drive, determination, and strong will propelled him into racing again – only this time in a wheelchair – just four months after his accident and spinal fusion surgery. He has since completed more than 140 road races, 30 marathons, and 25 triathlons.
Despite occasional medical and physical setbacks along the way, Jason always continued to look ahead. He never accepted that his life would be anything other than extraordinary. Like other world-class athletes, he maintained a rigorous training schedule and continued to tirelessly pursue success.
In late 2004, Jason encountered an unexpected obstacle. “I was in Kona, Hawaii to compete in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships,” he remembers. “I had completed the 2.4-mile swim and 106 miles of the 112-mile bike segment when a race official stepped in front of me and disqualified me from the race because I had failed to meet the 10-hour-and-30-minute cutoff for completing the swim and bike segments. I was angry and disappointed with my performance and it is a race I will never forget.”
After Jason's disqualification, he made it his mission to get back to Kona and accomplish what he had set out to do: finish Ironman Hawaii. Jason explained to us that in order to race in Kona, a triathlete must earn a slot through a qualification race. For the handcycle division, competitors must finish in the top two at one of two races – in Lubbock, Texas or Antwerp, Belgium. This ensures that qualifying for Kona is a special privilege and that eligibility is only for the elite.
In 2005 and 2006, Jason competed again in the Lubbock qualifications but finished in third place both years.
“I missed qualifying by one position but I was defeated by stronger and faster competitors,” Jason says. “My greatest challenge is that my fellow handcycle athletes possess significantly more muscle function than I do. My injury prevents me from using any muscle groups below the T5/T6 level, which translates to completing a 140.6 mile-race using only my arms and shoulders.”
Despite this adversity, Jason resolved to do whatever it took to achieve the goal he had been denied in 2004: finishing Ironman Hawaii.
Jason competed in Lubbock again in 2007. Despite cutting 43 minutes off his six-hour race time, he missed qualifying once again – this time by 5 minutes and 10 seconds. “
I was disappointed that I didn't qualify, but I was proud that I had made such great improvement. That winter, I trained with intense focus and treated every single workout with emotional intent,” Jason recalls. That was also the winter he started to work on his swimming with Dr. David Phillips (who was an All-American swimmer in college) and his wife Heidi Phillips, who introduced Jason to Juice Plus+. Jason qualified for Kona in June of 2008 by finishing first at the race in Lubbock. Then on October 11, 2008, he successfully completed the Ironman World Championship in a personal-best time of 11 hours and 29 minutes.
“It was a very special feeling,” Jason remembers. Only one year later, in 2009, he won Ironman Hawaii.
In addition to racing, Jason has also excelled academically and professionally. He attended the University of Illinois, where he was a member of the wheelchair-racing team, and then returned to Massachusetts to attend Northeastern University in Boston, where he earned a bachelor's degree in finance. In May 2004, he earned an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management from Boston University. He now works as a clinical consultant at Medtronic, Inc.
Jason continues to push through barriers, ignore limitations, and set new expectations for himself. He says he's currently taking a break to focus relationships with friends and family that he neglected due to the all-consuming nature of Ironman training. But he’s planning on doing Ironman again, and his goal will be to win.
Why does Jason do what he does? “It's because people think I can't.”
Juice Plus+ helps financially support Jason’s triathlon career.
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