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Tom Warren – The Original Ironman

Exercise eccentric is what some have called Triathlete 00000001. Others have affectionately called him a whacko for his methods.

The original IronMan Tom Warren has made a lifestyle of doing it his way. It’s not about the racing and who you beat. It’s about the training and coming up with your own challenges. The former owner of Tug’s Tavern is an endurance addict.

When I first started competing in triathlons and duathlons I read about
Warren’s methods in both Triathlete magazine and Scott Tinley’s- Winning Guide to Triathlon book. To a teenager getting into the sport as well being rebellious there was something about Warren’s non-conformist methods that struck home.

Warren is a true sweat boy with endless stamina and imagination when it comes to his training. Some of it has been spur of the moment ideas. Like the time he once ran for 18 hours- San Diego to Enseneda Mexico a total of 100 miles just to celebrate his birthday. He would do sit ups in the sauna to kill time because he was bored. And once did 400 on a bet with the winner earning a cold beer, Warren of course won. That is the essence of his athletic goals, the over riding curiosity of wondering if he could do it. When he raced and won the 1979 Iron Man it was simply because he wanted to see if he could do it. The win was for him simply a bonus. That is something we should see more of. For Warren it was far more rewarding to teach guy’s like Bob Babbitt and others who showed up how it was done of the course. He showed them how to use their turbo trainers in the sauna or other times to take the day’s training plan and throw it out. And do something different like go for a 50k run instead. To him it was more fun to go with one’s internal flow when it came to training. For his true love was the training and living the lifestyle. And his two comments about racing and training has become Warren’s Law. Consists of two statements set against each other like a riddle:

  1. If you went to school and never took exams, then you’d never know where you really stood.
  2. The problem with racing is that it gets in the way of training.

And even though approaching 70, Warren is still going strong. And his regimen of mileage is something to be admired in this day and age.

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  • Met Tom at the Plaza in Pacific beach. Condos with a great workout room and pools.Tried to paddle a surf board with Tom swimming in Mission Bay. Even though I was on the surfboard could not keep up with Tom. Was doing it so Tom would not get run over by a boat. Remember Tom tying a bike tube to a pool rail and attaching it to his feet and big paddles on his hands and pulling that tube tight for 1 hour. Also riding a bike to LA and back on the weekend About 240 miles round trip.Glad to hear Tom is still doing well.

  • I met Tom at Tug’s Tavern in the sixties. Best bar on the beach with good beer and great cheap food. We would go to the football games in Los Angeles and he would set up his make shift grill outside the stadium and give away tacos as a promotion for his tavern. I moved to Las Vegas in the seventies and he stopped by to see me on his way back from being on the Johnny Carson show. They would not let him wear his Tug’s Tavern tshirt on the show. He ran to Hoover Dam and back that day which was quite a feat I thought.

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