Tale of an Ironman: Jason Greer Overcomes Obstacles for a Cause
When most people imagine a triathlete, Jason Greer is not what they picture. A Chattanooga firefighter and married father of three boys, Greer has never swam the English Channel, run a marathon, or ridden his bike cross country, but he won’t let that stop him from competing in Ironman Chattanooga 2014, an extreme sports event that includes a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a full marathon of 26.2 miles.
By Julianne Hale
“When I first heard Ironman was coming to Chattanooga, I was really excited for our city,” explains Jason. “Chattanooga has become one of the great outdoor sports cities and bringing an Ironman here is just the cherry on top. Then when I heard that this event was going to take place in September, I knew that I had to do it.”
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a cause close to Jason’s heart. His oldest son, Tristin, is battling stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system which causes tumors throughout the body.
Tristin’s diagnosis came four-and-a-half years ago and forever changed the lives of the Greer family. Watching his son and other children fight this disease was the catalyst behind Jason’s decision to take on the Chattanooga Ironman.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the greatest at following through, but there was no way I was ever going to give up on this. It means so much to me to be able to raise money for these two organizations,” Jason says. The two organizations he is referring to are Emily’s Power for a Cure and Make-A-Wish® East Tennessee. All of the proceeds raised from Jason’s race will benefit these organizations, which have deeply touched the lives of the Greer family throughout Tristin’s battle with neuroblastoma.
Although he was an athlete growing up, training for the Ironman has been an uphill battle. “Even after a year of training, I’m not very good at any of the three sports but I’ve improved immensely from where I started,” Jason says. Fortunately, he’s had help along the way from some of Chattanooga’s finest fitness professionals. Andy Sweet, of HUB Endurance, is Jason’s triathlon trainer, keeping him going with a rigorous training schedule six days a week. Jason is also getting help from Be Fitness owner April Baker, who is working with him on core strength conditioning. “Both Andy and April are donating their time to train me. They’re both very kind and amazing people,” says Jason. In addition, Quintana Roo donated a QR Lucero Lite triathlon bike for Jason to ride during the race.
“When I started this journey 11 months ago, I wanted to teach Tristin to never give up, no matter how big an obstacle is,” says Jason. “But honestly, after looking back over these past months, Tristin is the one who taught me that. He is my hero and I love him more than anything.”