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True Triathlon: A 3,686-mile odyssey to support mental health awareness

Justin True is a hybrid endurance athlete who has put his body and mind through unimaginable challenges.

SAN DIEGO — In recent years, sports and mental health have been interwoven with more and more athletes coming out to speak on the importance of a healthy mind. One man is helping bring additional awareness to these issues with a journey unlike any other that will come right through San Diego.

In his late teens, Justin True tried to kill himself twice.

“You can still be tough and, you know, be open, talk about your feelings. And I think that's what really led me to my downfall was bottling it all up. And like I said, I became numb and blind to who I was and what my issues were,” Justin True said.

As Justin worked on his mental strength, it was his physical strength that carried him forward. 

“I like pushing the barriers of the human mind," he said. "Mental health is so much about mental strength and being able to push through tough times”

True is a hybrid endurance athlete who has put his body and mind through unimaginable challenges.

He's towed a car 26 miles on foot, worked out for 24 hours straight, completed an Olympic distance triathlon with a 90-pound hammer on his back. One of the most mentally and physically taxing and obviously dangerous was walking across Madagascar - a 29-day, 500-mile odyssey with strangers he met on Instagram. And yet, none of those accomplishments seem to measure up to his next planned escapade, a 3,668-mile triathlon.

“An 86-mile swim, tentatively, depending on how the current treats me across the Bermuda Triangle, going from the Bahamas to Miami. And then from Miami, I'll cycle about roughly 3,000 miles from there to the good old town of San Diego and touch the water there. And then lace up my shoes and run 600 miles throughout a course, all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge,” Justin said.

Justin calls it the “True Triathlon”. And by his calculations, it will be the longest triathlon in US history.

“And something that is really just like the brainchild of like my mental health issues,” he said. “And, you know, if I didn't have these sort of like mental health issues to overcome, this project would have never been crafted.”

And if a 3,686-mile triathlon wasn't zealous enough, he wants to do it all in a month or less.

Justin broke the timing down, “Roughly five to seven days for the swim would be ideal. 20 miles a day. And then, let's say a 200 mile average for the bike, so about 14 days. And then I would like to set a record doing 100 miles a day for six days for the run, but that's pretty ambitious. I like to be ambitious, you know, like, aim high. And hopefully you'll either hit it [or] if not, you'll hit right below it.”

But to Justin, it's not about how fast he crosses the finish line. It's just about crossing the finish line.

“I go into this saying, 'I want to take 30 days, but if it takes me 300 days, I don't care,'” he said.  "It's the story behind it of not quitting. You say what you're going to do you do it. And what I'm saying is I'm going to finish it. I know it's going to be terrifying. And I want to overcome that because I know that will make me a stronger person. And when I have those battles with depression and mental health, I can remember back that time like, 'man, I'm so much stronger than this like this. This feeling of wanting to end my life again. I'm so much stronger than that.'”

Justin plans to begin his journey in May 2022, and his trip will help raise money for mental health. For more information on his incredible trip and Justin you can visit whoisjtrue.com.


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