Evans Transforms Self into Triathlete

Entering Wadsworth High School, near Akron, in 2002, Emergency Management Coordinator Roy Evans of the Department of Public Safety was overweight, at 240 pounds. The non-athlete’s only field of play was on his mother’s couch in front of his Sony Playstation. Then something changed.

“I wanted to get a girlfriend,” Evans said.

Evans felt the best way to achieve his goal was to get himself into shape. He didn’t like running and he didn’t have a car to get him to a gym, but he remembered he owned a bicycle. Evans grabbed his bike out of his mother’s shed and started riding it around. It began with short jaunts through his neighborhood and in parks. Then it morphed into an obsession.

“Rain, cold, sleet, snow - it didn’t matter; I was bike riding.”

“It was fun. It was something to do. It became chasing numbers. I went 20 miles today, how about 21 tomorrow?”

Before he knew it, Evans had lost 40 pounds. With knowledge of his newfound passion, Evans’ grandmother gave him a road racing bike for his 18th birthday.

In 2005, Evans entered his first official bike racing competition. The following year, he competed in a 25-mile bike race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Evans didn’t come close to winning, but he experienced the thrill and reward of competitive racing.

Evans continued competing in local races and, now in shape, he picked up a fondness for running. In 2011, he competed in his first half-marathon in Athens, OH. While walking along Court Street with his sister, who was a student at Ohio University at the time, Evans saw an advertisement for the Athletes in Action Triathlon, only two weeks away.

“I was like hey, I can run, I can bike, let’s try that. It gives me an excuse to come down here and visit my sister again.”

Evans returned to Athens to compete in the triathlon and after one race, he was hooked. To date, Evans has competed in 48 triathlons, with the goal of reaching 50 by next year.

“I like the challenge. I like the hardness of it. At work, I don’t get tired. I can go up and down stairs all day long. I don’t like just sitting around.”

Many of Evans’ weekends are spent traveling the country with his wife, yes he found a girl, competing in various triathlons.

“You meet some really interesting people. I’ve been to some unique, awesome places that most people never go to.”

Inside his office at Blankenship Hall, which is littered with the medals and race bibs that he’s collected from his races, Evans thinks about the 50-triathlon milestone he’s aiming to achieve by next year.

“That’s going to be huge. It will be awesome.”

Evans also mentions how he wants to complete a 100-mile trail run. Yes, 100-miles, the next step up from the 63-mile trail run he’s already completed, which took him 18 hours.

“I feel like you’ve just got to challenge yourself. I like to set lofty goals that seem impossible, to better myself. I remember when running one mile was hard. I remember when a 5K was hard. Now there’s nothing on this planet I think I cannot do. If I wanted to do it, it’s possible because I’ve seen it and I’ve done it.”

Photo: Evans forms the O-H-I-O as he completes a race inside Camp Randall Stadium at the University of Wisconsin