Brian Fouts has a simple explanation why he has signed up for the Columbus Challenge Triathlon on Aug. 10.
“You have to be crazy to do stuff like this,” said Fouts, who is a mechanical engineering technician for Cummins in Seymour.
If Fouts is crazy to be doing triathlons at age 54, his dad, 80-year-old Charlie Fouts, must be insane. They will compete together in the Columbus race.
Brian Fouts entered his first triathlon in 2006 because he was inspired by his father, a Seymour resident who had been running triathlons since 1990.
“My dad has done more than I have, though.”“Since I’ve started, I’ve probably done about 40 triathlons since 2006,” Brian said.
Indeed he has. Charlie said he has participated in 866 running and triathlon events.
“Something like that,” he said with a smile.
What makes that participation even more impressive is the fact that Charlie used to be a heavy smoker.
“I was doing three packs a day,” Charlie said. “I started smoking the day I graduated from high school.”
Brian watched his dad puff away.
“He smoked for quite a few years,” Brian said. “When I graduated from high school in ’77, he was still smoking.”
Charlie stopped smoking in 1986, but his weight suddenly ballooned to 260 pounds.
“He said ‘I’ve got to do something,’ “ Brian said. “He basically became obsessed after that.”
Apparently, Charlie’s decision to get healthy and start competing in triathlons in 1990 saved his life.
In 2004, Charlie had a heart attack that required open-heart surgery.
“The doctor told me that had I not been in good physical shape, I wouldn’t have survived the heart attack,” Charlie said.
Now his willpower is unwavering, and he has his eyes set on a milestone goal.
“Overall, I’m shooting for 1,000 events,” he said.
“Half of those would be triathlons. My goal is to do 20 triathlons a year.”
The Columbus Challenge Triathlon has been a regular stop of his yearly tour.
“I like the way they have it set up,” Charlie said.
“It’s well-run, well-organized, and the participants there are good.”
Brian said he has a solid advantage over his dad, though, in the triathlon. Brian flourishes in the swimming portion of the event.
“My swimming is my best component,” Brian said. “I swam in high school from my sophomore through my senior year.”
While they both love to compete, the father and son said being able to share the moment with each other is equally special.
“I have a ball going out with my dad,” Brian said. “I always tell everybody that when I get to be his age, I want to do the stuff that he does.”
Charlie said Brian is a big reason he keeps going. “I like the idea of having family in it,” he said. “He (Brian) helps me get along and finish strong.”
Ultimately, Charlie hopes to have more than just he and Brian competing in triathlons together, in terms of family. He would love to see grandkids and great-grandkids running.
Charlie intends to keep on going “until I can’t go no more.”
“He just keeps up and keeps going,” Brian said of his father. “People will come up and tell me ‘your dad’s my hero.’ It’s pretty amazing.”