Scott McDermott, owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake, is making a comeback.
After a near-death experience during a race in Hawaii, McDermott will be competing in the Ultraman World Championships, which begin Nov. 23rd.
The race consists of a 10km swim and a 145km bike ride on day one, a 276km bike ride on day two and an 84.5km double marathon on day three.
And his training schedule has been quite extensive.
“I train about 20 to 25 hours a week,” he said.
He takes Mondays as his rest day and does a three hour swim on Tuesday morning and a two to three hour bike ride in the afternoon/evening. Wednesdays is a 10km run in the morning and a 2.5km swim in the evening. On Thursdays, he does a 2.5km swim and a one to two hour bike ride while Fridays is another 10km run and 2.5km swim. On Saturday, it’s a seven to nine hour bike ride and four to six hour run profile on Sundays.
To top it off he said, “When I do my run profile on Sundays I actually do the first part with a 30 pound weight vest and I just power hike and then I drop the vest and go for a run so that I can create fatigue so that I’m running tired.”
His whole journey dates back to Sylvan Lake when he competed in a Half Iron Man Triathlon. It was in 2004 when he was looking for a new challenge and wondered if he could finish one.
“I’d never swam laps in a pool, I could put off drowning and swim, but I’d never swam laps and I was a spin instructor so I knew I could ride a stationary bike, but I hadn’t had a bicycle since high school and I used to run a lot, but then I broke my back so I hadn’t run for a long time but I could run a little bit.”
McDermott then hired a coach and trained. Ten months later he did the Sylvan Lake Half Iron Man and came eighth in his age group. He then got a spot for Iron Man Canada five weeks later and went, falling in love with it.
“I did Iron Mans for quite a few years and I was actually training for Iron Man Canada in 2010 and was having lunch with a friend of mine from Australia and he’s like, ‘Mate, you should do an Ultraman’.”
And so it began. McDermott was convinced by his friend who encouraged him, saying he could do it, so he signed up the following week.
After training for a year, McDermott did the Ultraman Canada in 2011 and placed fifth overall.
“I had a really good race. It went super well and then I was hooked.”
In 2013 he competed in the Ultraman World Championships and placed 21st overall.
“They only invite 40 people in the world to do the race. It’s pretty hard to get into,” he said.
And then in 2015, McDermott signed up to do the race again in Hawaii, a race that changed his life forever.
He crashed. It was raining a bit and he was riding down a hill just under 70kms an hour. There was algae on the bridge deck and when he turned his wheel to the left, it slid out and he cartwheeled down the bridge until he stopped.
Thankfully two men racing behind him stopped and spent over 40 minutes getting McDermott breathing again.
“It was quite a deal,” recalled McDermott.
After breaking his skull open, breaking his ribs, busting up his knee, breaking his arm in half and his shoulder into four pieces, McDermott took a mandatory break of two years.
Six weeks after his surgeries, McDermott was running, his passion burning.
“I just love it. I love racing, I love training, I love the people. It’s just a passion, it’s something I love to do.”
McDermott is nervous but excited to go back to Hawaii to compete again, three years after his crash.
“The two guys that saved my life are going to be there. It’s going to be a big family reunion, there’s going to be a lot of crying,” he said with a laugh.
McDermott is also working on a documentary about his journey.
“We were making a documentary in 2015 and then it ended differently so now we’re remaking it, it’s just that the ending changed.”
He will be submitting the documentary to the Banff Mountain Film Festival in October of 2019.
The film will feature his story and experience, footage about the event and the crash, interviews and more.
He is currently calling the film Living the Warrior Code.
“The Warrior Code is from a line in a song and it says, ‘In the warrior’s code, there’s no surrender, though the body says stop, the spirit cries never. Deep in our soul a quiet ember knows that it’s you against you, it’s the paradox that drives us on’.
“It’s living the warrior code, which is basically though the body says stop, the spirit cries never,” explained McDermott.
McDermott has a Go Fund Me page set up to cover expenses of the film at https://www.gofundme.com/scotts-ultraman-comeback&rcid=r01-15404974807-f602acc0df544ad9&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w
“My goal is just to inspire people. You’ve been knocked down and your life is hard, but you can still do this.”