“I’ve nearly been shot dead by the police – twice. I’ve been to court and handed a life sentence at 24 years old. I’ve been around some of the most dangerous men in the country, actual psychopaths… When I race, I feel tremendously honored that I can compete.”
I can say without equivocation John McAvoy's story of metamorphosis is one of the most compelling, improbable, inspirational, and cinematic tales I have ever heard.
Born into a notorious London crime family — think The Sopranos meets The Krays — John is a former high profile armed robber who bought his first gun at 16 and quickly became one of Britain's most successful career criminals and most-wanted men. But it took two spells in prison and a close friend's death amidst a heist gone awry to birth a desire to change — redemption he ultimately discovered through the transformative power of sport.
Pulling one of the most improbable 180-degree life transformations of all time, John's greatest heist isn't a bank — it's his life.
While serving a double life sentence on the Belmarsh high security wing — space he shared with extremist cleric Abu Hamza and the 7/7 bombers — John decided to take a spin on the prison gym's indoor rowing machine. That experience revealed a unmistakable fact — John's freakish natural aptitude for endurance matched only by an inhuman ability to suffer.
The epiphany was miraculous. And it would change his life forever.
In short shrift, John broke a cluster of British and World indoor rowing records while in prison. Upon parole, he began forging a new life as a professional endurance athlete. Today, John is the world's only Nike sponsored Ironman athlete, a stalwart mouthpiece for prison reform and a staunch advocate for the inherent power we all possess to course correct the trajectory of one's life, no matter how dire the circumstances.
If John's story doesn't inspire you to be better, then you might want to check yourself for a heartbeat.
In all honesty, I cant remember being so excited about sharing a podcast conversation. I sincerely hope the exchange inspires you to rethink your potential and the physical, mental and emotional limits you impose upon your inherent ability to live the life you desire.
Peace + Plants,
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