Former Haddonfield resident prepares for the competition of a lifetime

Basner will undergo the journey of a lifetime that involves swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles all in the same day for one of the most intense triathlons in the country — the IRONMAN at Lake Placid.

John Basner, a former longtime resident of Haddonfield, will undergo the journey of a lifetime that involves swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles all in the same day for one of the most intense triathlons in the country — the IRONMAN at Lake Placid.

“Ironman is a challenge,’’ Basner said. “Like anything it is a great metaphor for life. If you prepare for it, it will go well.’’

Consisting of athletes from all over the world, the IRONMAN triathlon participants have to complete 140.6 miles of various terrains with a 17-hour limit to be considered as a “finisher.”

Although he now lives in Manhattan, Basner lived in Haddonfield from 2004 to 2015 with his four children and always prided himself on being an involved father. During that time, he coached football for the Haddonfield 65-pound team. He also coached his son’s first-grade basketball team at Central Elementary School. In addition, Basner was a volunteer assistant coach for his son’s football and lacrosse teams.

Athletics have always played a role in Basner’s life, whether it was coaching his children’s teams or staying active in his personal time. Running for three decades, Basner ran the Philadelphia Marathon in November, a 26.2-mile run, which he trained for six months to prepare.

In addition, Basner has participated in a variety of half marathons, including ones in Long Beach, Calif., Philadelphia and the De Moines, Iowa, all in the time span of eight years.

At the age of 45, Basner still plans on staying active and has been preparing for the IRONMAN triathlon since November, although he does admit it has been far from easy. Basner practices five to six days a week.

“Training for IRONMAN is pretty hard on the body,” Basner said.

Although Basner has been working toward building up his stamina for the triathlon, he admits he has a few challenges to overcome when it comes to preparing for certain portions of the triathlon.

“Swimming for me is the most difficult part of the race,” Basner said.

Having never had the opportunity to swim competitively, he is excited to put all his training to the test. In November, Basner said he could only swim for 30 minutes, and now he has worked his way up to 1.2 miles in an hour.

All proceeds from the race go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures. He was inspired to participate in the triathlon through his good friend Andrew St. Claire and his mother-in-law Madeline, who has Multiple Myeloma. Basner believes this will be the perfect way to honor her.

“The organization is really making a difference,” Basner said. “I always thought it was important to do things that make a difference for other people, and I was really impressed with the foundation.”

The MMRF Team for Cures raises funds for cancer research, with the goal to accelerate cancer research, particularly for multiple myeloma, while speeding the development and approval of new treatments. MMRF also covers 80 percent to 90 percent of St. Claire’s mother-in-law’s costs through grants.

St. Claire, who competed in the IRONMAN triathlon at Lake Placid in 2016, has also been a member on the Team for Cures for the past four years. Both his mother-in-law and mother, who passed away from cervical cancer in 2012, inspired him to get involved with Team for Cures.

“It’s such a worthwhile organization,” St. Claire said.

Multiple Myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer, affects one in every 143 people in the United States, with the risk of acquiring this disease at 0.7 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Upon discovering Basner was running in honor of his mother-in-law, he was overwhelmed with joy.

“I was immensely proud to tell my mother-in-law,” he said.

Not only do athletes have to go through rigorous training to prepare for the IRONMAN, but there is also a science to nutrition leading up to and during the triathlon. Athletes are required to drink every 15 minutes and consume 9,000 calories during the day of the competition.

“One of the biggest challenges is preparing for the unknown,” St. Claire said.

St. Claire described the excruciating physical and mental pain that athletes tend to experience around the 80-mile mark. In his personal experience participating in IRONMAN, St. Claire recalled athletes on the side of the road with tears in their eyes from exhaustion.

The MMRF will have more than 60 triathletes racing for the Team for Cures who hope to raise $300,000 for cancer research.

For more information about Basner or the IRONMAN Lake Placid team, contact team manager Brittney Wright at wrightb@themmrf.org. Entries for the 2018 IRONMAN Lake Placid race are still available via the MMRF, visit endurance.themmrf.org/2018IMLP to register today. The triathlon takes place July 22.