Gary Jacques Escapes the Cape and Proves that Age is Just a Number!

Gary Jacques - Triathalon

Many people know Gary Jacques as the resourceful director of purchasing for LSMNJ based in the Burlington office. But, for the past year, Gary has applied the same dedication he gives daily at LSMNJ to another demanding endeavor. Most days after work, he was at the gym transforming himself mentally and physically to compete in the 3rd annual Escape the Cape Triathlon, held on Sunday, June 14. Not only did Gary compete at Cape May but finished 204th out of 800 athletes.

Originally, his nephew—a former Army Ranger—suggested they enter the triathlon together . . . just for fun. Once registered, Gary occasionally questioned the wisdom of his decision. The basic requirements were simple but daunting: jump off the end of a massive ferry and swim to shore, hop on a waiting bike and peddle more than 10 miles, then run/walk/crawl several miles to the finish line.

His personal goal was 1 hour 40 minutes and did it all in 1 hour 32.4 minutes. Says Jacques, “I could have done better. Toward the end, I lost a little time when we had to run in sand—twice. That was hard, and some of us walked part of it. But overall, I’m pumped that I finished and came in under my goal.”

At age 60 Gary isn’t your average triathlon prospect. Earlier, he had shared with some colleagues that he was competing not just for himself but also to show that folks 60 and over shouldn’t automatically limit themselves just because of age. “We work with many seniors in our LSMNJ programs,” notes Jacques, ”and I know they still can do a lot and have much to give. Sometimes seniors just need a little push and encouragement. Like this race did for me.”

Congrats Gary! It looks like you reached all your goals for this year’s race. Now how about next year?

The Story: Gary’s Perspective

Gary Jacques - TriathalonSeptember 2014. I turn 60. How did this happen? Old. Out of shape. 193 lbs? This will not stand. Escape the Cape Triathlon, Cape May, NJ, June 14th, 2015. “Jump off the Cape May Ferry” and swim, then bike, then run. I’m in. I join my local gym and teach myself to actually swim. 1 lap…stop catch my breath. 6 months later, swimming a mile no problem. Weights, stationary bike and tread mill right through the winter. Spring breaks and I don’t have a “road bike”. $150.00 used 1989 Fugi 12 speed. “I’ll take it.”

Late March. Start riding and running. Nathan Dunn (Shehadi Flooring), who does this triathlon stuff, tells me “you need to start doing bricks”. “What’s a brick”? He says “you ride the bike, immediately get off the bike and run.” THE worst thing I have ever experienced in my life! 3 bricks a week for the last 1.5 months. Everyone at the office is very supportive but getting sick of hearing about my latest workout. I finish my last training session and step on the scale. 167 lbs.

June 14, 2015. I’m on the Cape May Ferry .36 miles from shore. I hear “jump”. I leap from the back of the ferry 15 feet down into the bay and 11:36 min. later I’m crawling out of the bay. Transition into a 12.5 mile bike ride and then into a 5K run. 1:32:04 later, as I approach the finish line, I hear over the loud speaker….”From Rancocas, New Jersey…GARY JACQUES!” The huge crowd cheers. I pump my fist into the air and cross the line.

60? HA! It’s just a number.