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Experiences

THE PERFORMER

Chris McCormack

Text — Dirk Rheker Photos — Maurice Haas Date2012-10-10T09:33:13

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Chris McCormack has accomplished a lot as a pro triathlete. Clearly, he is here to win. But what is most striking about “Macca” is the passion and enthusiasm he has for the sport.

It’s kilometer 39. The cramps in his thighs have finally gone away. Swiftly, the athlete downs some water, gel and an isotonic drink at the hydration station. With renewed vigor, Chris “Macca” McCormack flies onward, towards the finish line, driven by a mix of endorphins, adrenaline and sheer will. A few Australian fans, on mountain bikes, appear next to their idol. They cheer him on enthusiastically, just as at many other waypoints during that day in the heat of Hawaii’s lava fields. The track has been cordoned off to the sides. Chris ­McCormack bulls through the tunnel of unbridled shouting and enthusiasm. Finally, he reaches the home stretch – after more than eight gruelling hours. As Macca sends his fans to the finish line, their throats grow sore with cheering. With his last strides, tears fill the winner’s eyes. Now, there’s nothing left but happiness, pure and unrestrained.

That was the summary of 2010’s Ironman Hawaii. It may have been one of the most thrilling duels of his career – three years after his first win. This time, Macca had run neck to neck with Andreas Raelert from Germany – until the final ten minutes, when he managed to launch a decisive offense, leaving his opponent behind. With his unbending will and the collective experience of 13 Ironman wins, McCormack had exercised the psychology of a real champion. “I had nothing to lose,” he explained afterwards. “I just told myself I’d stay in the moment.” He was 37 back then – the second oldest winner ever. Only American Mark Allen was one month older when he won his last race in Hawaii in 1995.

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When Chris McCormack won his first Ironman Hawaii in 2007, a collective sigh of relief rose from the in-crowd, as if to say: “It’s about time!” Three years later, he showed them all his stealth once more, by doing exactly what he em­phatically describes in his book: “I am here to win.” Macca’s ­recipe for success: if you want to belong to the world’s ­triathlon elite, you have to go above and beyond a daily ­regimen of training runs, swims and bike rides. Training, he argues, must also occur in the mind. “Each race is a battle,” he explains during a week of high-altitude conditioning in the Swiss Alps. “I never allow myself to think about the ­difficulties or the extreme challenges during the race – only about how to master them.” In the end, he defeats those doubts in his mind, just as he physically defeats his opponents.

Chris McCormack has always been defined by his strong mental control and his non-compromising attitude towards life. His competitions keep him focused on only one goal: to win the race. “I really shouldn’t have beaten Andreas in ­Hawaii,” Macca said about his younger opponent. “But on this day, and at this crucial moment, my will was just stronger than his.” He has managed time and again to intimidate his opponents, literally browbeating them mentally. Of course, he is a model athlete as well, every fiber in his body trained to the max. But “I believe my psychological ­advantage gives me the biggest edge over my competitors.”

Naturally, Macca had hoped to run the short distance in the London Olympic Games this year, but for varied reasons, the Australian Sports Commission did not nominate him. This was a big disappointment, but a champion has to deal with those, too. Instead, McCormack is considering competing at the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Las ­Vegas this September, or to eventually take up the challenge of competing against cycling legend Lance Armstrong, who has moved on to triathlons and wants to measure himself against the best of the best. Such a meet-up would indeed be a battle of giants. Would he go for Ironman Hawaii one more time? “Only if I feel I actually have a shot at winning,” he says, unambiguously. That’s typical Macca: should he return to the Big Island, it won’t be to cheer on his colleagues at Palani Road, but to win. “I owe it to my wife and three children,” he said, before he takes his leave to go on a 10K training run. Yes, it has to do with passion and commitment. Of course, he owes it to himself as well.

Explore More Articles
precision has always fascinated me

Giovanni Zonzini is a racing driver and watch collector from San Marino. For him, it is an article of belief that cars and watches have to be reliable

Experience - Nad Zakem - Hero Experience Landing
Nad Zakem

Eight years ago, Nad Zakem bought his first IWC. Since then, the Canadian has turned into an expert, and passionate collector

IWC PUBLIC SCHOOL
IWC and PUBLIC SCHOOL

The relationship between IWC Schaffhausen and PUBLIC SCHOOL began in 2013 and sprung from a love of finely made timepieces. To celebrate their partnership, IWC and PUBLIC SCHOOL are pleased to announce a Money Can't Buy Experience Sweepstakes which will see two winners attending New York Fashion Week in February 2016.

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We continue our #IWCTalksTo series with a talk to American actor and model Scott Eastwood.

the scotsman

A brilliant researcher devoted to the discovery of new treatments for many diseases. A keen footballer coaching the company team of his employer Roche for several years. A watch enthusiast intrigued by the engineering beauty and precision of mechanical movements. Andrew Thomas is a dedicated man of many passions.

IWC Tribeca Film Festival
IWC Schaffhausen at the Tribeca Film Festival 2015

IWC Schaffhausen celebrates the world of filmmaking for the third year as the Official ‘Festival-Time’ Partner of the Tribeca Film Festival® (TFF) in New York.

Be strong

We continue our #IWCTalksTo series with a talk to the actor and IWC Schaffhausen Brand Ambassador Chris Evans.

breguet_spring
Increased precision
down to the overcoil

In some IWC calibres, the balance rim oscillates to and fro on a Breguet spring. The terminal coil is painstaking shaped by hand and plays a significant role in ensuring that the balance oscillates with perfect regularity, thus increasing the watch's precision.