Skilled triathlete Max Fennell was in between sips of coffee when he answered the decision for our mid-morning interview. It wasn’t Folgers in his cup, however moderately a freshly roasted brew from Fenn Coffee, the corporate he based in 2018. You see, Fennell isn’t your common athlete.

“I’m simply a kind of individuals who doesn’t need to look forward to issues to get executed,” Fennell says. “I’ll simply go do it.”

When he’s not working his espresso firm or competing in a grueling triathlon, Fennell’s mind-boggling busy schedule consists of serving as chair of the Group Engagement and Outreach Committee for Menlo Park––Fennell’s hometown within the Bay Space. He’s appeared on varied aggressive TV exhibits, together with a stint on Million Greenback Mile (a actuality present produced by Lebron James and hosted by Tim Tebow). And if that’s not sufficient, he picked up bow searching final 12 months in the course of the pandemic and now considers it certainly one of his secret weapons.

Fennell identifies as an entrepreneur, hunter, and public servant, even when triathlete is what he’s greatest generally known as.

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Courtesy of Max Fennell
Courtesy of Max Fennell

On August 15, Fennell will likely be standing on the beginning line of what he considers his residence race: Escape From Alcatraz. This grueling race attracts two thousand athletes from over 50 international locations, all of whom will likely be confronted with a 1.5-mile swim within the San Francisco Bay’s uneven water, an 18-mile bike experience up and down the town’s steep hills, and an eight-mile run that options the soul-crushing Sand Ladder––a brutal set of cliff stairs. Most individuals would shudder on the considered this race, however the unpredictability, the grind––that’s what Fennell lives for.

“There are a number of variables you need to account for,” Fennell says. “It is a race the place you’ll be able to’t anticipate something. You’ve simply acquired to attend and see what occurs on race day, then adapt.”

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Courtesy of Max Fennell

Fennell will get pleasure from a home-field benefit, as he often trains in a lagoon that connects to the San Francisco Bay’s chilly waters––negating one of the crucial daunting parts. Along with his cold-water swim coaching, Fennell depends on a constant biking and working schedule to remain in peak situation. Whereas different triathletes stress about race prep and obsess over executing their plan, Fennel understands this race requires a distinct mindset.

“It’s all about exhibiting as much as the race feeling robust and assured realizing you’ll be able to deal with no matter’s thrown at you—not worrying about who’s exhibiting up on race day,” he says.

This mindset could be attributed to final 12 months, when he had a chance to compete within the Spartan Video games––an impediment course endurance race that options as much as 30 totally different obstacles. The expertise impressed him to vary his method to racing—to focus much less on profitable and extra on competing and pushing himself to his outer limits. And Fennell’s not simply pushing himself to the sting in triathlons.

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Courtesy of Max Fennell

The 33-year-old lately started backcountry bow searching, a problem that checks each his bodily and psychological limits in methods triathlons can’t. I may hear the joy in his voice as he described the arduous activity of carrying a 60-pound backpack up a mountain alongside rugged ridgelines. He spoke of stealthily pursuing turkeys for 5 straight hours whereas battling nature’s uncooked parts––gusty winds, wild temperature swings, and different four-legged predators. It’s not the kind of expertise most individuals, a lot much less most triathletes, expertise.

“Searching is definitely going to make me a stronger athlete greater than something,” Fennell says. “I believe that’s the most important edge I’ve over my rivals.”

Later this 12 months, Fennell will strive air gun searching in Texas as a part of a searching tv present—however that’s as near searching with weapons as Fennel is focused on. He’s a bow searching purist at coronary heart and revels within the distinctive problem and hazard that comes with searching within the wilderness.

“Whenever you’re doing a contest, you’re competing with one other human and attempting to win,” says Fennell. “With struggle or flight, you’re questioning if there’s a grizzly bear or a black bear round you. It’s a distinct form of concern, but it surely unlocks a distinct degree in your mind to go deeper and tougher.”

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Courtesy of Max Fennell
Courtesy of Max Fennell

All through his life, Fennell has by no means been afraid to dig deeper or go tougher to beat an impediment in his approach.

In 2014, Fennell made historical past by turning into the primary black triathlete to get his professional card. Sadly, the sponsorship {dollars} didn’t observe. Whereas he’s managed to help himself via beginning his enterprise, Fenn Espresso, he’s now engaged on a brand new initiative to pave the way in which for different black athletes attempting to interrupt into the game.

“There’s nonetheless not a number of alternatives for black endurance athletes by way of sponsorship or any help,” he says. “I noticed we have to create an initiative to deal with that and assist present alternatives to open doorways.”

He’s at present within the strategy of constructing a non-profit group, the United Endurance Project, which can work to establish and supply monetary help to black endurance athletes on the cusp of going professional in triathlon or OCR racing.

The larger the impediment, the extra motivated Fennell is to beat it. It’s an outlook we will all profit from.

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