Slovakian NHL legend Zdeno Chara took on on his first half-distance triathlon at Clash Daytona in December. Now the former Boston Bruins star is levelling up, racing at the Challenge Roth race this summer, which is the full Ironman distance.
After playing 1,680 games in the NHL, the most for a defenceman, the 46-year-old turned his sights on marathon and triathlon racing last year. The 6’9″ (2.06 m) star played in the NHL for 24 years, represented Slovakia at five Olympic Games and captained the Boston Bruins for all 14 years he played with the team. He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman in 2009 and led his team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, 2013 and 2019, with the team winning the cup in 2011.
Chara ran a number of marathons last year, including Boston and New York (finishing the latter in 3:19:19) and did his first triathlon in June. His presence at the race in Daytona was a huge hit.
“I was one of the guys in charge of transition and while I don’t have a pic of him on the bike, I will say that both of his wheels pretty much touched the ground while the bike was racked!” one volunteer posted in a thread on Slowtwitch. “To make it even funnier, his training partner is Becca Pizzi, who is 5′ or so. Spent quite a bit of time talking to both of them and they were incredibly nice, even if I did fanboy out a bit getting to meet Big Z!”
Chara won the Clydesdale category at the race (he weighed 238 lbs/ 108 kg before the competition, about 10 kg less than he weighed during his hockey career) and finished 18th in the men’s 45 to 49 age group in 5:03:45.
Chara will now look to double the distance at the famous German event this summer.
“I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be participating in one of the best races in the world,” Chara wrote on Instagram. “I decided to compete @challengeroth2024!”
After years of playing in noisy arenas, Chara will certainly be ready for the “enthusiastic spectators” that routinely line the course at the race in Bavaria.