Chris Leiferman is something of a late bloomer. The American star did not turn professional until the age of 27 in 2013.
The Minnesota native has made rapid progress since though with his rise to elite level culminating in a top-10 finish at the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.
In between times he had notched a number of impressive victories including over full IRONMAN distance at Mont-Tremblant in 2016 and both Louisville and Boulder (his hometown now) in 2018. He also claimed successes over middle distance at Marbella in 2018 and Boulder in 2019.
Chris first got into triathlon to gain fitness and lose weight. His brother, who was a cycling nut, signed him up for a race and told him to train. It worked out well.
Leiferman, who loves training in Tucson, Arizona and names IRONMAN Cozumel as his favourite race, says swimming is his weak link and the discipline he least enjoys. Cycling meanwhile is his great love.
Finishing in the top 10 at Kona isn’t the thing Chris is most proud of so far, that would be finding and marrying his wife Zana. Apart from her, the things he can’t do without are coffee and eggs.
Leiferman’s most painful triathlon memory was the last 10k at IRONMAN Boulder in 2018, which he describes as “a death march”. His biggest embarrassment meanwhile was: “crossing the finish line, accidentally ruining Ryf’s 2015 70.3 World Champs photo op. Sorry Daniela!!”
Away from the triathlon course Chris prefers solitude to the pressure of elite competition, and he shuns big cities and large gatherings.
Driven by his fear of failure and letting his family down, Chris says he typically avoids confrontation but has great admiration for people who do speak up for what is right.
In terms of a legacy he’d like to leave, again it comes back to family as he says: “Giving my future kids something proud to say about their father when they get older and into their sports or professions”.