(KUTV) This week's Pay It Forward is the "Iron Cowboy."
A Utah man set his sights on a world record in one of the most grueling events ever, but he came away with much more than a world record.
James Lawrence, known to his fans as the "Iron Cowboy," ran thirty Ironman races in the course of a year. He broke the world record, and also came away with a deep sense of gratitude and personal inspiration—thanks to a young man who can’t walk, talk, run or swim.
Together they faced one of the toughest Ironman challenges ever and together they rode into the record books.
James shattered the previous record of 20 races in one year. He was on his way to setting a new benchmark when he saw a video called "Dayton's Legs." Dayton is trapped in a body riddled with cerebral palsy, but he wanted to be an Ironman.
James reached out to Dayton last November and they met at Lake Havasu. "I thought ‘there’s got to be a way to make him an Ironman….He was excited, over-the-moon to participate with us," James said.
The race began, after making quick work of the swimming competition; things took a turn for the worse when Dayton's bike carriage malfunctioned.
"Cycling's my strength. 30 miles into it I knew something was wrong. Every peddle stroke was like climbing a mountain. I was traveling at four miles per hour and I was doing the math and I wasn't going to make it. I absolutely wanted to quit," James said.
The bike leg that normally took four hours suddenly took 9 to complete. But quitting was not an option. “I would look back and see Dayton literally can’t ride a bike… He’s not going to cross that finish line if I don’t take the next step,” James said.
After the toughest bike race of his career, James needed an all-time best in the marathon to keep from being disqualified. 16 hours and 40 minutes later, “We were able to cross that finish line together. And we were able to accomplish that goal. I was able to give Dayton that gift and he in turn gave that gift to me. I was exhausted, but I was super grateful I didn’t let Dayton down,” said James.
To view the upcoming short documentary about James Lawrence and his journey to set a world record, go to www.filmingofilms.com
To learn more about James Lawrence, go to www.iron-cowboy.com
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)