On January 16th, Lifeguard Wealth, in partnership with Dimensional, co-hosted a special speaker event at Piatti in Mill Valley. Our special guest speaker was Ben Collins, a professional triathlete. Ben has had many podium visits in his storied athletic career. He is a 2007 Amateur World Triathlon Champion, a three-time New York City Triathlon Champion, a four-time 70.5 Ironman Champion, and was a member of the US National Team, to name just a few of his accomplishments. But it's his dedication as a race guide to blind athlete Aaron Scheidies that impressed me the most.
Ben captivated us with his tales of victories and other highs of his sport as well as the lows that inevitably come from a long and storied career. The stories that resonated most were those that spoke to that special bond between friends cultivated over the last 14 years. Ben shared the come-from-behind effort that led to Aaron becoming the first blind athlete to shatter the 2-hour barrier in the Olympic distance triathlon (1:58:09). He shared the heartbreaking story of leading in a recent World Championships only to have a mechanical failure less than one mile from the finish. And about racing in the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics when they had a total brake failure, which resulted in a crash due to the steep descents on a tandem bike.
Ben shared the importance of communication when, after having not raced together in seven years, Ben was not aware that Aaron's eyesight had deteriorated significantly. On the running leg of a triathlon, Aaron could not see a large red safety cone. He ran right into it, knocking him down. Ben emphasized the importance of communicating with your partner, whether racing for gold or just navigating life with a partner. Good communication is paramount in any partner arrangement, whether it’s business, personal or when racing.
Ben also delighted us with tales from his experience at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He taught us how the Paralympics operate, told us about what life is like inside the Olympic Village, and shared the amazing stories of the even more amazing athletes he met at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
What I took away from Ben’s talk is the concept of trust. Aaron needs to place his total trust in Ben’s ability to guide them to victory. It’s a bond that has formed over years of training, hard work, high and lows. I personally look forward to watching Ben and Aaron, these teammates in an unbreakable friendship, race for gold in Tokyo 2020.
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