Former Boston Bruins star Zdeno Chara competed in his first long-distance triathlon last weekend at Clash Daytona, winning the men’s 40+ Clydesdale category thanks to his 5:03:45 finishing time.
After playing 1,680 games in the NHL, the most for a defenseman, the 46-year-old has turned his sights on marathon and triathlon racing. The 6’9″ (2.06 m) star played in the NHL for 24 years, represented Slovakia at five Olympic Games and captained the Boston Bruins for all 14 years he played with the team. He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman in 2009 and led his team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, 2013 and 2019, with the team winning the cup in 2011.
At forty-six and now retired from hockey, Chara has turned his sights on endurance training and racing. He’s run a number of marathons this year, including Boston and New York (finishing the latter in 3:19:19) and did his first triathlon in June.
Chara was a big hit at the event:
“I was one of the guys in charge of transition and while I don’t have a pic of him on the bike, I will say that both of his wheels pretty much touched the ground while the bike was racked!” one volunteer posted in a thread on Slowtwitch. “To make it even funnier, his training partner is Becca Pizzi, who is 5′ or so. Spent quite a bit of time talking to both of them and they were incredibly nice, even if I did fanboy out a bit getting to meet Big Z!”
Last Sunday the tall and powerful Slovak (he weighed in at 238 lbs/ 108 kg before the competition – that’s 22 lbs/ 10 kg less than he weighed during his hockey career) finished 18th in the men’s 45 to 49 age group, and first in the Clydesdale category.
Chara is looking to complete at least one more marathon this year and says he’ll do more triathlon races next year, too.
Here are some photos of the hockey star from his race in Daytona last Sunday: