This weekend, the endurance world will have it’s eyes focused on Kona, Hawaii, as the best in the world of Ironman distance triathlon put on their proverbial gloves and duke it out under the big island’s scorching sun. Gnarly is exceptionally honored to have BJ Christenson as one of it’s athletes. He will be returning to Kona for the 7th time this year in hopes of chasing down some pro’s and laying down the hammer like the god of thunder himself.
BJ is one of those guys you hope you run into at your next tri. Why? because he has one of the nicest, most approachable dispositions in the sport. Immediately affable, when you find out his nickname is “The Iron Giant” you kind of wonder, aside from the fact that he’s a towering 6’7”, how he came upon such a cold-war-esque nickname.
Then you watch him run, bike and swim. And you get it. He doesn’t stop.
He’s a machine –and a damn fast one. Watching BJ run is like watching a grunting, behemoth of a steam train hurdle itself towards some cascading mountains in the distance. BJ isn’t afraid to suffer. He explains it this way, “that’s when the magic happens. It’s not about how much I train, it’s about how hard I train”. Not exactly the serious work ethic you’d expect from a guy that has you smiling and laughing within seconds of meeting him.
“Beej” originally hails from Idaho before he immigrated a bit south and graduated from the University of Utah as a Mountain West All Conference Runner. Since then he’s kept himself ridiculously busy by honing his unique set of skills. He has won every major triathlon in the state of Utah at least once -as well as Idaho’s coveted Spudman Triathlon (a 4X Spudman champion). But the real big deal about BJ is that he’s also a 9 time USA Triathlon All American and a 6 time Kona Ironman Championship qualifier and finisher. This weekend, BJ’s gonna make that 7.
Maybe the real big deal about BJ is that anytime you run, bike, or swim with the Iron Giant, it’s a new adventure. And soon his excitement becomes your own. It’s infectious. By his own admission, BJ says, “ I love getting muddy, dirty, drenched, and frozen. The higher I climb on my trail runs, the better I feel. If I can find a body of water on the trail to jump into, I’m in it”
When he’s not out training in 100 degree heat or jumping naked into any body of water he stumbles on, BJ manages the Salt Lake Running Company, is a certified personal trainer and triathlon coach and is always trying to get his wife, Chrystel, and his son to do a few more 800 meter sprints with him.
Good Luck this weekend, Iron Giant!