Progress: Bermuda’s Mark Wilcox in action during the Executive Challenge at the Ironman World Championships in Hawai’i. *Photo supplied
Progress: Bermuda’s Mark Wilcox in action during the Executive Challenge at the Ironman World Championships in Hawai’i. *Photo supplied

If sheer determination, strength and dedication were the only criteria for success in the sport then Bermuda’s Mark Wilcox would be triathlon world champion by now. 

The 46-year-old CFO of Rennaissance Re came into triathlon late at 42 but in three and half years has made tremendous progress, especially when you consider that his preference is to race longer distance Ironman and Half-Ironman. Add to that a family and a hectic job and his results are all the more impressive.

Amongst Bermuda’s established triathletes, Wilcox is known for his ability to suffer, something you need in abundance to complete the gruelling Ironman, a  2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and marathon 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. 

But he loves the challenge. As he says, “the more suffering, the better”.

Wilcox got into triathlon after competing in marathons with a friend. This friend was doing ironmans so he took up the sport to try and beat him.

Wilcox likes the diversity of triathlon and the camaraderie of training with likeminded ironmen. 

The most frustrating part of the sport is swimming,  tough to take up at 42 but he enjoys it and his persistence is paying off as his times improve. 

“But,” he says, “I always hope that one day I will find that perfect stroke.” 

A tough consistent weekly training schedule that includes long bike rides and runs have paid dividends.  

Last year was a breakthrough year as he finished second in his age group at the Florida 70.3 Half Ironman, broke the magic 10 hours in the Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt and capped off the  season by winning the Executive Challenge at the Ironman World Championships in Hawai’i in an impressive 10 hours 10 minutes on a tough course.

This year Wilcox is taking a break from Ironman but will compete in two US half ironman races in California (March) and Eagleman (June) as well as numerous  local triathlons and running and cycling events — not much of a break but then he does need to get his suffering in somehow!