More Than Just a Number – Grzegorz Zgliczynski

In 1989, Grzegorz Zgliczynski (#778) first came to the U.S. from Poland to train for triathlon. In 1991, he got his green card and that same year, he won the 25-29 age group at the Hawaii Ironman, where he was 16th overall.

Today, Zgliczynski has lived longer in Colorado than he has in Poland but considers both places to be home. A swim coach by trade, he coaches amateur and professional triathletes. Additionally, he coaches 8-12 year olds at Mission Aurora Colorado Swimming (MACS), a USA swim club with athletes ranging from novice to Olympic qualifiers.

Zgliczynski himself has had a very successful triathlon career on the roads. He has won his age group at so many world championship races that last year, he set a goal to win his age group at every world championship triathlon race from sprint distance to Ironman.

So far, Zgliczynski has won at the Ironman 70.3 distance (Clearwater, FL.), Olympic distance (Cozumel), the Aquathon (Cozumel), and in the long-distance ITU (Weihei, China).

He was second in his age group this year at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship at Penticton and he was unlucky in Rotterdam in the sprint distance.

“I was fifth there,” said Zgliczynski, “Becuase I forgot my spot in transition and couldn’t find my shoes. After 30 years of triathlon, I made a beginner’s mistake!”

This year, Zgliczynski decided to try XTERRA so he could add that age group title to his collection.

“If it’s triathlon and it has a world championship, I’m entering,” he said.

This was his first year at the XTERRA World Championship, after qualifying at XTERRA Beaver Creek.

“I trained all year on a borrowed bike,” he admitted. “I loaned a friend my road bike and he let me borrow his mountain bike. “I still don’t consider myself a good rider. My skills are way not good enough.”

Despite his doubts about his abilities, Zgliczynski’s skills were good enough to nab the 50-54 age group title.

I was concerned that my technical skills may not be up to par,” said Zgliczynski.  “However, the course was perfect for me. Thankfully the conditions were dry and there was the perfect mix of endurance and power, which are my strengths. The run was beautiful. I am an avid trail runner in Colorado, so the course was a joy for me in Maui.”

Zgliczynski’s son Jeremiah came to Maui to watch his father and challenged him to an XTERRA race next year. Jeremiah was a NCAA Division I swimmer at the University of Denver, specializing in distance swimming and individual medley.

“I wasn’t planning on racing XTERRA again after this year, but both my son and I are signing up for XTERRA Indian Peaks and XTERRA Beaver Creek,” said Zgliczynski. “And several of the athletes I coach are interested in off-road now, as well.”

Zgliczynski said that he was impressed with how the race was organized and the relaxed atmosphere.

“I like that it was just, ‘Come pick up your stuff and then come back for the race’,” he said. “In Ironman everything is done on different days and I don’t need mandatory this and mandatory that. Coming into this season, I wanted to try something new in triathlon, which is why I chose XTERRA. I did not expect it to be so well organized and competitive. I loved my experiences and the people I met at all my XTERRA races. I’m excited for next season already.