Annie & Gretchen had the privilege of interviewing Ultra-Endurance Athlete Tom Jones. NO, not the singer Tom Jones, but the other Tom Jones, a man who is just accomplished and who you should know about.
Some of Tom’s NOTABLE ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS • 7-time kickboxing champion with 2 world titles • Ran the length of California several times at a marathon pace • Ran 121 marathons in 121 days ending in the New York marathon for his final • Stand-up paddled around Smith Mountain Lake Virginia, 520 miles in 16 days • Stand-up paddled from Oregon to the Mexican border, 1,250 miles in 90 days • Stand-up paddled Key West, FL to New York City, NY, 1507 miles
Legendary NFL quarterback Joe Montana called Tom Jones “One of the greatest athletes I’ve ever seen.” The secret to Tom’s success, both as an athlete and social activist, is simple: He works harder than anyone in the room. Any room
Tom Jones’s achievements are legendary: Tom has trained with some of the top athletes in the world, including Chuck Norris and Laird Hamilton. Tom’s heart is as big as his ambition. Orphaned and abused as a child, Tom pushes himself for a purpose. In the early days, that purpose was saving himself. Later, he used his exceptional talents and training to fight for other abused children, as well as battered women and the environment. Tom is an iconic extreme-sport world record-setter.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING
What does your typical workout look like?
What I do is normally so extreme physically, my workouts are normally extreme as well.
- Typical run 10 to 15 miles
- Typical bike ride 20 miles
- Typical SUP flatwater paddle 10 miles minimum
- Typical weightlifting session is normally around 3 hours long, my workouts are always different. Sometimes I use weights and weight machines, and sometimes I do circuit training.
- SUP surfing. I normally surf for 2 hours minimum
When someone trains with you, they hope to improve physically, but how can they also improve mentally?
- The fact that a person has made the decision to get off their butt and come in and workout with me on a regular basis is a great way for me to remind that individual they are already on a path to being more physically and mentally fit, and strong.
- Each time a person comes into work with me, I frequently challenge them to do something “extra” in addition to the prescribed workout. I call it “Expand your comfort zone”. I use this method to empower people, to show them, and ultimately get them to believe that they can go beyond the prescribed workout for the day. Always building up their belief that they can ” go the extra mile ” so to speak.
- I always tell people to repeat the phrase I am “Quitproof”, “Quitproof”, “Quitproof” to themselves out loud, or in their mind when they feel like they cannot go any further. This positive self-dialogue really helps people get past that normally brief ” sticking ” point, and really helps me to get them to believe that they can “do it”!
You have achieved many accomplishments personally, professionally, and philanthropically, what are you most proud of?
I would like to break this down into each category if possible. I would like to do that because it’s not a ” one answer fits all response “.
- Personally, I’m most proud of being a good parent and father. Coming from the Foster Care system, I know what it’s like to grow up without a good role model. So personally, it’s being a good parent and role model for my kids.
- Professionally and Philanthropically, I’m most proud of the ” Why ” I do what I do. That ” Why ” is to always use my athletic ability to help something, or someone other than myself. ALL of the events I’ve done outside of being a professional Muay Thai prizefighter have been to champion something or someone other than myself. The feeling I get inside for going the ” extra mile ” for others is priceless.
Do you ever surprise yourself, think, wow, I actually did that?
- Yes, no doubt, I think that thought to myself in most of the world records, and almost on all of the events I’ve finished.
- I think the one time that really stands out the most to me is over the course of 121 consecutive marathons I did running across North America.
- Considering that I started running the marathons on July 4th in my hometown of Huntington Beach California it was already very hot. But the first spot that was incredibly challenging for me was running through the Mojave Desert in average 113 plus degree heat. It was so hot during the day, many times I was forced to run at night to get out of the sun beating down on me during the daytime hours. The next was running through the Rocky Mountains in the month of August, the heat and humidity was unbearable, like running with a wet, hot, blanket on me but somehow, I pulled through it. Next, running through the plain states was incredibly boring, monotonous, and also very hot. By the time I reached the East Coast Winter was starting to set in, so I had to deal with rain and cold.
What are you currently working on? Please share new challenges and future plans.
- I’m currently working on establishing another brand-new World Endurance Record. Similar to when I established the very first long-distance record on Stand-Up Paddleboard. It’s one thing to ” Break ” an established World Record, but definitely iconic to actually establish one. At least it is in my mind.
- My next endeavor is to go from Oregon to the Mexican border riding a Hydrofoil SUP board. This will prove to be very challenging for me for many reasons, first is because I have to actually learn to ride and use a Hydrofoil SUP board. This is very similar to before I established the World Record on Stand-Up Paddleboard, I did not know how to ride one just 6 months before I paddled from Oregon to Mexico.
- Another very challenging aspect of the hydrofoil event is that it’s extremely demanding physically to ride the board for what is expected to be 6 hours a day on average. Not to mention the logistics involved on a daily basis.
- We are also planning on writing a ” Quitproof “(TM) book and producing a documentary movie on my life story.
What is your suggestion for aging enthusiastically?
- My suggestion for aging enthusiastically is very simple and straightforward, I sincerely live by this creed. DO NOT EVER LET AGE DEFINE YOU!!!
- To me, age is a number, the number that tracks the amount of time that you have been on Earth, NOT HOW you’re SUPPOSED TO ACT!!
- My other staple is to live by the ” Quitproof ” motto:
- HANG TOUGH…STAY STRONG…REMAIN QUITPROOF (TM)… Never ever give up or give in!!