It’s long been said that it takes a lot of heart to tackle an Ironman Triathlon. Two years ago Concord resident Jeremy Woodward was in the throes of heart failure, battling for his life after his first heart valve replacement had failed. Now Jeremy is training to compete in one of the world’s most challenging sporting events, the 2010 Ford Ironman USA Triathlon in Lake Placid, New York. And the 31 year-old Concord native is doing it not just for himself, but for New Hampshire’s natural environment.
On Thursday, Jeremy stood next to Governor John Lynch in Concord and announced that after two open heart surgeries in the past nine years, he will be among nearly 2,000 triathletes who will compete next July in a 140.6-mile endurance race that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run through the Adirondack Mountains, aiming to complete all three legs in under 17 hours. His other goal is to raise at least $140,600 – that’s $1,000 for every mile in the Ironman, for the New Hampshire Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
“Living with a heart condition and training outdoors I’m constantly reminded that we only have one life to live and one planet to experience the joys of life. A healthy environment is essentialfor healthier people, both in New Hampshire and around the world. Clean water, clean air and the opportunity to get out and experience the natural world are all important to human health and the quality of our lives,” said Jeremy Woodward.
Jeremy’s health quickly spiraled downward in April 2007 as doctors struggled to diagnose what was wrong. The 28 year-old was sent to a Boston hospital. It was here that specialists identified the problem: Jeremy’s heart was failing. An aortic tissue valve that had been replaced a few years earlier was not working, undermining his heart’s ability to effectively pump blood. Jeremy underwent his second aortic reconstruction and valve replacement. While awaiting this surgery, Jeremy promised himself and his coach, Sean Snow, that he was going to someday compete in the Ironman Triathlon.
Under the watchful eye of several doctors and trainers, Jeremy has spent the past three years reclaiming his health, physical strength and mental well-being. He takes anticoagulants to prevent blood clots, so an injury while training for or participating in the Ironman competition could have dire consequences.
Despite his condition, Jeremy strives to “Live Life to the Fittest™,” which has since become the motto of his personal training business, Highpoint Fitness LLC, a Concord based training service that he has owned since January 2007. One of those training under Jeremy’s guidance is The Nature Conservancy’s state director, Daryl Burtnett.
“Since I’ve known Jeremy, he has always strived to be part of something bigger than himself. Dedicating his Ironman effort to support The Nature Conservancy is Jeremy’s way of ensuring that his daughter’s generation might inherit a natural world that is healthier than ours,” said Daryl Burtnett, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire. “We are deeply grateful for his support, and couldn’t be more proud to have Jeremy include us in this challenge of a lifetime.”
Jeremy Woodward and his wife, Brook, have a 1-year old daughter, Elliana. “Competing in support of The Nature Conservancy means competing for Elliana and others of her generation so that they, too, will have a chance to experience a healthy environment in New Hampshire,” said Jeremy.
To follow Jeremy’s journey on his way to Lake Placid and help him reach his goal of raising $140,600 for conservation in New Hampshire visit www.firstgiving.com/TNCIronman or send a check with “support for Jeremy” in the memo line to The Nature Conservancy, 22 Bridge Street, 4th Floor Concord, New Hampshire 03301.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.