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Triathlon was becoming a nice change from the mental challenge of his job. “He was just so passionate about his work, which takes place in his head, primarily,” Gail says. “The balance between intense thinking and intense physical activity—it changes your focus.”

Then—as things often do with Jonas—racing Ironmans became a fun puzzle to crack. By 2010, Jonas had completed 15 iron-distance races and figured it could be possible to do them all. (There were 25 on the schedule then… Then he met Luis Alvarez.

“This crazy guy approached me on the bike,” says Alvarez, the 140-time Ironman finisher whose entourage of iron-competitors has numbered in the hundreds. Jonas told Alvarez about his goal to complete every race in the world. “I didn’t know if he was for real,” says Alvarez, the 55-year-old CEO of Mexican fuel tank manufacturer SAG-Mecasa… The idea of tackling every Ironman in the world intrigued Alvarez, even if it wasn’t an officially recognized achievement… The club, for now, was all in Jonas’ head.