Michel Cadieux, Age: 59
SVP, Human Resources, Itron

Overweight and overworked, Cadieux got a wake-up call from his doctor during a physical in 2006, when his cholesterol was “off the charts.” At the time, the human resources executive was commuting from his home in Toronto to Austin, Texas, every week working on a corporate integration. “When I finally moved to Austin, I realized I needed to change my life.” Cadieux joined running groups and began losing weight. He signed up for a “rookie triathlon” with a neighbor and loved it so much that he signed up for seven more. The following year, he completed Ironman Texas 70.3 and in 2015 completed Ironman France 140.3 in Nice. This summer he’s going to Ironman Austria. Cadieux, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 55, helps to manage his condition with diet and exercise. But the benefits of staying fit are mental as well as physical. “I do a lot of introspection when I’m running,” he says. “I’m a better husband, family person and executive.”

GETTING IN THE GAME: You shouldn’t jump into triathlons unless you have a swim or cycling background—and a network of knowledgeable people is critical. “Start by tackling one or two of the sports,” says Cadieux. “Then do a sprint [short] triathlon to see if you like it. Work your way up to an Olympic tri, then a Half Ironman and finally a full Ironman.”