MU alum training for Ironman World Championship

Former Triathlon president races in Hawaii in October


Photo courtesy of Molly (Mullane) Modrzynski.

Every fall, about 2,500 of the best athletes in the world head to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, to take one of the most challenging races in the world: The Ironman World Championship. Jeff Condit, a recent Marquette graduate, will be part of that elite group.

Condit’s graduation came just months after his greatest physical achievement yet, his performance at the Ironman Muskoka (Canada) last August. With a time of 10 hours, one minute, and 35 seconds, Condit had the best times of his 18-24 age division and placed 31st overall. His time qualified him for the 2016 Ironman World Championship.

“I broke down in tears once I crossed the finish line,” Condit said. “It was just kind of the emotional exhaustion after 10 hours. It all just kind of came out when I stopped moving after an entire day like that.”

Ironmans aren’t for the casual athlete. The world championships’ 2.4-mile open-water swim, 112-mile bike through the Hawaiian desert and 26.2-mile run along the coast is the pinnacle event for any triathlete. The sheer challenge of completing the race will be an even greater test for Condit, who underwent knee surgery in November.

“(It was) just too many running miles built up after awhile,” he said. “Things start to hurt, so they went in and cleaned stuff out. (I’ve done) physical training all winter, lots of biking, and just getting back into running now.”

That gives him five months to get in full shape for the championship, which takes place October 8. Condit remains optimistic about how his knee and the rest of his body will return to peak form for his fourth – and most important – triathlon.

“At this point, no, (I’m not concerned about my knee),” Condit said. “If it’s another two months and I still can’t run particularly well, then maybe (it will worry me). Going into Muskoka, I was already having knee problems, and I just kind of ran through it anyways.”

Thomas Meeker, Condit’s close friend and training partner with Triathlon Team of Marquette and a senior in the College of Business Administration, said the recovery shouldn’t be an issue because there is no parallel for Condit’s work ethic.

“You will never hear Jeff complain or end before (his workout) is done,” Meeker said. “However, Jeff knows his limits, and after the surgery he spent a couple of months slowly easing back into each of the three sports and spending a lot of time in the gym preparing. Being patient, knowing his body and methodically sticking to his gut and his regime has been huge.”

His work ethic began early in his career. Condit earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Marquette in 2013, then received his master’s in clinical and translational rehabilitation this past December. Early in his undergraduate career, he started training for and competing in regional Ironman triathlons, completing his first in Madison in 2011. He also started volunteering for Milwaukee’s Youth Empowered to Succeed Program – where he now works full-time – teaching outdoor fitness classes, mountain biking, swimming and other outdoor activities.

This summer, Condit will need to balance his job and the 30-plus hours per week of Ironman training required. He’s taking everything one day at a time as his knee recovers.

“I’ll do it as best as I can, certainly, that’s my general M.O.,” Condit said. “I would say under 10 hours would be awesome, but at the same time that’d be huge. Honestly, I’ll probably just be happy to be there … I didn’t put any pressure on myself in Canada and did really well, I was just there to have fun, so I guess that will be the strategy for Hawaii as well.”