Ironman on campus
By Cadet Michael Neu
University of Texas – San Antonio
Joseph Barber, an Army Cadet at the University of Texas – San Antonio, has always taken health and fitness seriously. Studying exercise science, Barber continually searches for new ways to increase not only his personal fitness level, but his education and experience in the world of health and fitness.
Fitness was merely a hobby prior to his Green-to-Gold Active Duty Option selection to attend UTSA but now it has since become his way of life.
Since 2004, Barber has sought to become an ultra endurance athlete. First it was the local 5K fun run. Then a 10K. Before he knew it, he was running marathons. Now, he trains and races year round.
Whether it’s a marathon, ultra-marathon trail run, or a triathlon, Barber can be found on a starting line at least once a month, looking for yet another way to test himself. Each year is a new challenge, and this year the challenge was the Ironman Triathlon. The Ironman Triathlon is the most intense triathlon, consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run, all of which must be completed within 17 hours in order to be called an “Ironman.”
While the typical college student may spend his weekend at parties or munching down on pizza in front of an Xbox, Barber can be found training for upcoming races, volunteering with the Big Brother Society, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, tutoring, or acting as executive officer of his ROTC battalion — all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
“The philosophy that I live by is to always, on a daily basis, attempt to improve myself in all aspects of life, whether that be physical, mental, academics, professional, spiritual, and even romantically,” Barber said. “You will only get out of life what you put into it. In the end, if you don’t like the results, you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Barber’s physical quests continue.
This year, Barber has completed 2 marathons, two 30-mile ultra-marathon trail runs, and 5 triathlons, the longest being Ironman Coeur d’Alene, in northern Idaho. The remainder of this academic year Barber’s race schedule is just as full. In the coming months he will compete in Ironman Cozumel and run his first-ever 50 mile ultra-marathon.
Will he stop at 50 miles?
“I guess we’ll find out after the 50-miler,” Barber said. “Although I heard there’s a fun 100-miler held every May in Canada.”