Four-time IMSA Champion Completed First Ironman Triathlon Last Weekend
By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jordan Taylor concedes his big toes are blistered and the muscles in his legs are still so sore it’s painful for him to walk and especially, to take the stairs. But his heart is full and there’s a big smile on his face.
Turns out the Corvette Racing driver is also fast without wheels.
The popular IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitor completed his first ever Ironman Florida competition over the weekend in Panama City, Florida – the culmination of a massive goal he has been working toward since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While others took a break from the hustle and bustle during that time, the four-time IMSA champion stepped up – and stepped out of his comfort zone. With a strenuous years-long training regimen topped with an impressive debut in the Ironman race, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride followed by a 26.2-mile marathon run.
Taylor finished in 10 hours, 20 minutes, 33 seconds – actually bettering his own expectations and target time.
“It’s kind of like preparing for the Rolex 24, but preparing my body not the car,’’ Taylor said. “It was a really cool experience.”
Taylor was especially satisfied to beat his personal goal in the marathon run – the final portion of the race – by more than 20 minutes; finishing strong with a 3-hour, 42-minute time over the 26 miles. And he credits his “team” of supporters and coaches for their work, especially in that final portion of the competition.
It was a hot day by marathon standards – 80 degrees outside – and the heat began to take its toll about a third of the way through the run. Taylor said he started getting chills – and other symptoms of a possible heat stroke – around mile 11.
But his older brother, fellow multi-time IMSA champion Ricky Taylor, was alongside the course for support and motivation – and he essentially helped talk Jordan through the most taxing portions of the run.
It was a fitting scenario since Ricky and their mutual friend Mark Jensen comprised the group that initially floated the idea of prepping for an Ironman during the COVID downtime.
“We kind of all started training together during COVID and it was a good motivator to keep fit during the lockdown time,’’ Taylor said. “And then I’ve just kind of fallen in love with the sport. I enjoy following the professional [Ironman] races now and some of the pro athletes.’’
Taylor took preparation for the race very seriously – as you would expect for someone who takes racing very seriously. He trained through COVID and later continued the strict regimen even during race weekends with long bike rides and runs at the WeatherTech Championship circuits and the surrounding areas on practice days.
“You think about it and you’re working so hard for one day,’’ Taylor said. “One little hiccup could upset things. Fortunately, everything went well and I was able to check off all the boxes.”
So, after years of planning and preparation, would he ever do this again?
“I think I will,’’ Taylor says, with a laugh. “It takes commitment and sacrifices of time, but now I’m kind of hooked.
“I’m going to let my toes recover and have a good think about it anyway.’’