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THE MAN WHO RACED 600 TRIATHLONS
BY CASSANDRA JOHNSON


 


Century Club By the Numbers
As of April 2015, only .04 percent of USA Triathlon’s nearly 500,000 members are a part of the Century Club.


198 IN THE 100 CLUB


36 IN THE 200 CLUB


10 IN THE 300 CLUB


3IN THE 500 CLUB


1 IN THE 600 CLUB


Visit www.usatriathlon.org/centuryclub to see all the athletes recognized for this accomplishment and learn how to join club.


 


 


Middle-of-the-packer Ken Hale works 70 hours a week in food service, clocks an impressive 7-to 10-second T2 and prides himself on finishing every triathlon he’s ever started. All 600 of them.


The 47-year-old Hayward, California, resident became the first member to join USA Triathlon’s 600 Club on Oct. 12, 2014, when he completed the Golden State Triathlon. Hale laughs about not making it out of the water fast enough to draft on the bike and describes the cheers and plaque that commemorated the milestone.


He talks just as clearly about that flat, draft-legal race in Sacramento, California, as he does his very first, the 1981 Santa Cruz Tinman Triathlon, which Hale’s cross country coach convinced him to race to help fill out the field.


“The first 100 just sort of happened. You pick up a race here and you pick up a race there,” says the runner turned triathlete, who was hooked by the challenge that three disciplines and new courses offered.


In the beginning Hale worked out three times a day, every day. Now, race day is his only training, and he’s sacrificed podium finishes for making it to the finish line and having fun out on the course. Hale races about 30 events a season, oftentimes multiple in one weekend or day. He’s placed in almost every position from second to last.


Co-workers are in complete shock when they find out about Hale’s hobby, he explains.


“I’m overweight; I don’t look like a triathlete. I’m an average person with an iron will,” Hale says.


36 USA TRIATHLON SPRING 2015

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