It took some time for Jacob Barnes, former Northview High School cross country team runner, to cross the finish line of the recent Boulder Ironman competition. Well, it takes everyone a long time, but for Jacob, the trip involved a torn hip labrum which took some years off a potential schedule to that finish line.
Despite the interruption, when he finished he finished where everyone wants to be–first in his age group.
After high school, Mr. Barnes enrolled at the University of Toledo and joined its cross-country team. Everything was moving along well until in his second year when the labrum issue arose. Eventually, it was determined that the injury would require surgery and it was performed, he said, by the doctor for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. The torn labrum and the surgery and rehab necessary ended his cross-country competitions, but he said he is grateful to UT for giving him what is known as a medical disqualification, which allowed him to remain on scholarship.
It also allowed him to use UT facilities to try to stay in shape and that’s where he met a rehabbing track athlete from Indiana, Kristal Studer who is now his wife.
The couple traveled after graduation, spending some time at the University of South Carolina where she got a job and he worked as a volunteer track coach.
He said he was gradually able to run and in order to keep his aerobic level high he had begun to swim regularly. After about a year, Ms. Studer interviewed for a job at the University of Utah and when she returned she told him of the scenery, elevation for training and when she was offered the job, off they went.
She is now an academic adviser to the University of Utah football team and Mr. Barnes is using his business degree as the footwear buyer for the three-store Salt Lake Running Co.
While “swimming every single day,” someone asked Mr. Barnes if he had considered competing in triathlons. Training began for the events which include running, swimming and bicycling. Success in those events led him to consider Ironman competitions. They involve a swim of 2.4 miles, bicycling 112 miles and finishing with a marathon-distance run of 26.2 miles.
Last year he completed the Texas Ironman and by coming in first in the Boulder event he has qualified for the world championship in Kona, Hawaii set for Oct. 12.
He recently was interrupted by a phone call as he sat with a cup of coffee on the porch of his Utah home, saying, “this is healing time. I’ll get back to training soon. October sounds like a long time, but it’s not.”
The discomfort from the labrum issue had eased over time and he said that when on a run with his wife recently he told her that he didn’t feel it. It had been an issue but he just continued to run and over time the discomfort had eased.
He credited his wife for her support and as an example said she was up at 4 a.m. with him for the event in Boulder and stayed with him until about 9 p.m. when a friend finished the race.
The friend was Dr. Harry Zeitler, a Northview cross country teammate who recently completed medical school, but stayed in good shape through that grind. He also is the son of recently retired John Zeitler, former Sylvania Township administrator.
Dr. Zeitler didn’t have the smooth sailing of Mr. Barnes. He told his father he was struggling during the bike segment and feared that the altitude might be taking a toll. At about the 12-mile mark a passing cyclist told him his rear tire was flat. By itself, the flat cost him time and it then took about 10 minutes to fix the tire. Nevertheless, he finished the race.
Written by: Mike Jones, Public Information Officer
Posted: June 20, 2019
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