by Brian Ansley
Recently, I was provided the unique opportunity to speak with one of the most inspiring athletes of our time. His name is Jason Lester. Aside from being one of the greatest athletes alive, Jason is also an author, coach, public speaker and founder of the Never Stop Foundation. Jason spoke with me from his training grounds in Hawaii, which is also where he currently lives. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, he moved to Manhattan Beach, California at the age of sixteen after getting into racing.
The first thing I noticed about Jason was how humble he was about all of his achievements. He said, “The reason I do it is to inspire others.” Jason also helps to spread his inspiration through his coaching programs. “I don’t [coach] to make money”, he said, and continued, “I do it to share the experience with others.”
As a public speaker, Jason has presented to Microsoft, universities, elementary schools, charity organizations, triathlon clubs in addition to many other instititutions. Last August, Jason also published his first book entitled “Running on Faith.” This book demonstrates to his readers how he overcame his hardships and pushed forward to achieve his aspirations in life.
In 2008, Jason became the first person with a disability to finish the Ultraman World Championship. In 2009, he was the fifteenth athlete in the history of Ultraman to complete both the Ultraman World Championship and Ultraman Canada in the same year. Also, he became the first male triathlete to win an ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. When Lester was twelve years old he was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered a multitude of life-threatening injuries including a punctured lung and twenty-one broken bones. Ultimately, Lester recovered, but he left the hospital with a paralyzed right arm.
He’s no stranger to overcoming obstacles, and his win at the ESPY Awards is proof that his story resonates with the voters. Lester said about his 2009 win that “It was great because ESPN nominates you, but the people vote for you.” He continued saying, “Sitting in the same room as Michael Phelps was just a great honor in itself.”