Jason Lester Never Let Disability Stop Him from Becoming an 'Ultra-Man'

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IMay 23, 2012

Image via everymanti.com
Image via everymanti.com

Jason Lester is an endurance athlete who was able to achieve phenomenal success despite the death of his father and the loss of his arm in a horrible car accident. Lester was also the first disabled athlete to compete in the Ultraman World Championships.

Lester was the 2009 ESPY Award Winner for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. When he was 12 years old, he was riding his bike to the video store, which almost became the last ride he would ever take. A speeding driver sent him 130 feet into the air and ultimately to the hospital with twenty broken bones and a collapsed lung.

As a result of the accident, Lester’s right arm became partially paralyzed, and he spent several months rehabbing in the hospital. The thought of Lester going on to become a tremendous athlete would not have entered anyone’s mind at this time—heck, no one knew if he even would survive when the accident first happened.

Lester’s father, his best friend and sole guardian, suffered a fatal heart attack while Jason was still in the hospital undergoing an intense, grueling rehabilitation recovering from his wounds.

So, left without parents or the use of one of his arms, you might think that Lester would have just given up. Yet the opposite happened—Lester somehow found the strength and courage to overcome his disability and grief and continue playing football and baseball, even making the all-star team with the use of only one arm.

In fact, Lester continued to play sports throughout high school and college. He started competing in running and biathlon races and, by the age of 18, he was the second-ranked biathlete in Arizona.

In 2004, Lester participated in the Ironman World Championships in Kona. While being trained in swimming, he noticed he was beginning to regain partial use of his right arm. Four years later, Lester became the first disabled athlete to finish the Ultraman World Championships and the following year he became the first male triathlete to win an ESPY Award.

Meanwhile, in 2007, Lester founded the Never Stop Foundation. The Foundation teaches kids how to think creatively and turn their dreams into reality by giving them the practical skills they need. To this day, Lester is still active in the development of the Never Stop Performance Center in his home town of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

On March 19th 2012, Lester began a Nike-sponsored “Journey for a Better World.” He will be running and biking 102 days over 4,700 miles across the United States, relaying the Nike message that a better world starts with sport.

Lester has completed over seventy triathlons, biathlons, marathons, Ironmans, and Ultramans. His book, “Running on Faith,” describes the passion and commitment of a true competitor.

So the next time you are tempted to think about how difficult a certain task might be, think of Lester. There is no greater testament to overcoming adversity than his story.

Presented by MetLife. I Can Do This.