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Brian Boyle

Recent Update / September 3, 2009: iPlayOutside has been keeping up with Brian and we received the latest in an e-mail from Brian himself.

Story by Brian Boyle (with photos submitted by Boyle)

This past Sunday, Aug. 30, I competed in the 2009 Ford Ironman Louisville, which was my first full distance Ironman since Kona in 2007. All the hard work, sacrifice and mental preparation that I have put into this sport for the past two years really paid off this weekend because I was able to drop four hours off of my Ironman time by going 10:55.

B.Boyle, 2009 Ford Ironman Louisville
Brian is challenged in Louisville
I felt a little nervous going into this race because I was determined to go hard and really do the best I could. In my first Ironman, the goal was to finish, but the goal for this race was to test my abilities and I was very pleased with the results.

There was a lot of energy in the air on race day morning, especially with the way the swim course was set up with the time trial start. The adrenaline rush that I felt as I was getting ready to jump in the water was out of this world. For the first quarter of the race I found that my heart rate was a little to high so I started to take it down a notch and finally reached my regular race rhythm. After 2.4 miles in the Ohio river, I hurried to get my land legs back, hopped on the bike and began focusing on the race day strategy that I had planned for the past year.

I guess I became a little too aggressive towards the first third of the bike portion because I ended up getting my first red card penalty ever in a race for unintentionally taking a little to long to pass due to the congestion of traffic and cyclists on the road - I was devastated.

I knew that this was going to hurt my bike time quite a bit and as I continued pedaling and wondering how I could make up time, I was given a yellow card penalty less than five minutes later for riding to close to the middle of the road instead of staying to the right - one more penalty and I would be disqualified from the entire race so I made sure I did everything as cautiously as possible after I was released from the penalty tent that lasted six minutes. The next 80 miles I was extremely alert with the road traffic, the terrain and the other cyclists on the course. Luckily, it was a smooth ride without any further trouble.

After 5 hours and 28 minutes, I came into the transition area feeling much fresher than how I felt in Kona two years ago (when I stepped off the bike back then, I had to hobble to the transition area and struggle to sit down for a few minutes before I could even think about attempting a marathon). I focused on putting one foot in front of the other and for the first mile it was tough, as it usually is in any triathlon after the bike segment. I held on, consumed a few powergels and salt pills, and started to find my pace and stride.

Before I knew it, I was hitting mile 6... and then 12... and then 16... and the excitement and cheering from the crowd was just filling me with this much-needed motivation so I kept moving and most importantly, kept smiling and thanking the crowd and volunteers for all their incredible support.

In the marathon I competed in back in march, I hit the wall at mile 20 so I was really worried about what it was going to be like to get to mile 20 in the marathon segment of this race after swimming for 2.4 miles and biking 112. But surprisingly, at mile 20, instead of feeling fatigued and in pain, I felt an overwhelming sense of rejuvenation and emotion as my eyes filled with tears of joy that lasted all the way to the finish line.

It was a great day and the race was amazing. I crossed the finish line in 10:55 and felt very strong, grateful and motivated, but this certainly was not an individual effort - I have received so much wonderful support over the past two years from my family and friends and from wonderful people like you.

Thank you for believing in me and for helping me along my Ironman journey.

- Brian B.

Brian's Book: "Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead"

And read more about Brian's history below. . .

Story by Brian Boyle (with photos submitted by Boyle)

A month after I graduated high school in 2004, I was coming home from swim practice and was involved in a very serious car accident with a dump truck. The impact of the crash knocked my heart across my chest, breaking most of my ribs/clavicle/pelvis, collapsing my lungs, losing 60% of my blood, severe nerve damage to my left shoulder, and in a coma where I was on life support for over two months at Prince Georges Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland.

I died eight times while I was in the intensive care unit and even when I woke up from my coma, I couldn't talk or communicate. The day that they knew that I would live was the day that I either left my room in a wheelchair or a body bag.

As far as the future, it didn't exist.

Walking was never going to happen again due to all the extreme injuries and because of the shattered pelvis. The thought of swimming was just that, only a thought. Just like my body, my dreams were shattered. But, the one thing that kept me alive from the beginning is what keeps me going today, help and support from family and friends. They never gave up on me and I can't give up on them. Everything that I do and try and accomplish is for them and because of them.

Brian Boyle
After spending two months in a coma, having 36 blood transfusions, and 13 plasma treatments, I lost a total of 100 pounds and had to go to a rehabilitation center in Baltimore, MD.

I had to re-learn how to talk, eat, walk, shower, and live independently again. After that agonizing experience, I went to outpatient therapy in Waldorf, MD.

I spent a few months in a wheelchair. It took many baby steps to walk on my own.

I wanted to prove the doctors wrong and not only walk, but run. I also wanted to get back in the pool again.

It was a miracle that I could even walk.

A few lung tests later, I was able to go in the pool for little bits at a time each week. Swimming a few months and laps here and there with my training partner and good buddy, Sam Fleming. I decided that I was not going to let my injuries stop me from living my dream.

Six months later I began my freshman year at St. Mary's College of Maryland and became a top swimmer on the team.

With the 50 year life expectancy I was given from the doctors, I am just trying to live each day to the fullest, trying to motivate and hopefully inspire others.

Two months ago I successfully completed the Steelhead 70.3 half-ironman race in Michigan. I was awarded the Inspirational Athlete Media Slot which has enabled me to compete in the Kona Ironman World Championships. My story and race footage will be broadcasted when the Ironman premieres on NBC, December 1, 2007 between 430-6pm Eastern Time Zone.

Brian Boyle finishes
I just got back from the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and I actually FINISHED! It took me 14 hours and 42 minutes. I came to the finish line full steam ahead, using every last bit of strength and emotion that I had; which wasn't too bad after only training for this race for 6 weeks.

It was the greatest day of my life.

I tried to savor every second that I could, but as I look back at those 14-hours the memory lasts only minutes.

I felt great on the swim, coming into the transition with the elite age group, I had a pretty good transition time. Then I power-housed the bike as best as I could, while headwinds gave me a hard time all the way through. I just kept it steady and stayed positive to come back down to the next transition in 7 hours and 30 min.

The run started out great with about a 10 minute mile pace and I stayed strong. With it being my first marathon and first Ironman I really didn't know how to pace myself, but I just kept it going as best as I could.

I had three different NBC news crews following me during the day; one group in a red mustang, one in a silver mustang, and one was even on a moped. There were helicopters following me on the bike in certain areas - the feeling was intense!

I surprised everyone when I came in around 14 hours because my lifesport coaches were predicting 16. For the last few miles of the marathon I had a news crew on my right, both of my coaches running with me, and my Cannondale bike sponsors following me in their SUV.

Brian Boyle and Parents
Thank God for my parents
We were all just pumping to the line and the feeling coming down to the finish for me just can't be explained. The crowd went absolutely crazy!

Watch me Finish on this video from

The funny thing is, I could have went so much faster, but I held back because I knew it was going to be a long day. In the swim I ended up pulling my right hamstring, but I just tried to focus on the positive and use mind over matter to push through it all. I ended up really hurting it on the bike and run, and when I got to the finish line and was able to finally sit down in the rest area, I couldn't get back up.

I went to war with the human spirit... and won again (lol), and I can't even describe the feeling.

My next goal is to turn pro in the next 5-10 years because I don't want the story to end here.

Next year I would really like to do the Ironman race with my Dad because he's a cancer survivor, my biggest factor of motivation (especially when I tried to give up in the hospital), and my training partner for the past 6 weeks leading up to this race. Until then, I am just going to take it easy and wait until the swelling in my legs goes away.

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