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Triathlon is Hale’s way of life, and he’s become an asset to his local multi-sport community. Longtime friend Dave Campbell and TBF Racing Co-Founder Bill Driskill note that Hale always offers advice or encouragement to other athletes on race day.


“The term ambassador for triathlon does not quite speak highly enough of Ken’s commitment to the multi-sport lifestyle. He is more like a lifetime representative for triathlons and multi-sport events everywhere,” Driskill says. “Ken is always eager to help new triathletes, answering questions about transition entries and exits, the course or other race details. He will supply stories from his race yesterday, last weekend or the weekend before.”


This season, Hale has 49 triathlons on his schedule — mostly sprints within a two-hour radius of home.


“Some races are just a notch in the belt. The milestones are the ones I focus on now because they’re special,” Hale says.


When asked about a goal number, Hale starts computing what it will take to get to 1,000 finishes, a number he’s clearly thought about before.


“The next big milestones are 750 and 1,000. Just because 1,500 seems out of reach now, doesn’t mean it will stay out of reach. So 18 years at 50 a year — and I’m only 47,” Hale says. “I’d like to do more, but they get expensive.”


During the past 34 years, Hale has raced every distance from super sprint to ultra-distance events, through all conditions.


He hasn’t let injuries, heat or other obstacles get in the way of finishing a race. During one race he dealt with 12 flat tires and still finished. In another it started snowing just in time for the swim, but Hale crossed that finish line.


He’s passionate about triathlon, and it shows.


“His personality is generally happy and friendly, until the talk turns to triathlon. Then a level of energy and enthusiasm enters Ken’s voice that is impossible not to interpret as full-on ‘crazy about triathlon,’ and if you are not already racing triathlons, you start thinking seriously about getting started,” Driskill says.


Out of all the races Hale has completed, there are four that have left the biggest impact: 1996 IRONMAN Europe in Germany, where Hale completed his first ultra-distance triathlon surrounded by 250,000 spectators; the Pleasanton Tri for Fun Series, a course he’s raced 100 times and chose to celebrate his 500th finish; USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals, an event Hale describes as first-class and well-organized, plus allows him to race with many like-minded, driven athletes; and Escape from Alcatraz, which he says should be on every triathlete’s bucket list.


With the 2015 season ramping up, Hale is well on his way to setting another record.


USATRIATHLON.ORG USA TRIATHLON 39

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