Oak Bluffs man to compete in Ironman championships

Dowd to compete in Utah this weekend.

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J.P. Dowd, who was born and raised in Oak Bluffs and now lives in Boston, will be competing this weekend in the Ironman World Championships, his sister Chick Stapleton, owner of Island Spirit Kayak, told The Times.

Get this: Dowd told us he took up the sport — which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike course, and a 26.2-mile full marathon run — when he was 40. He had done some running, but was having knee problems. He went to the doctor, who told him he shouldn’t be doing endurance sports. When he told the doctor his knee felt better cycling, he was encouraged to do more of that: “I told my wife, and she said, If you add swimming, you can do triathlons,” he said.

Here he is eight years later, competing in the world championships.

The competition is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, in St. George, Utah. Dowd’s bib number is 2693. (He noted the last three numbers tie him back to his childhood home.) To track Dowd’s progress, you can download the free Ironman Athlete Tracker app via either Apple’s iTunes or for Android, on Google Play. Ironman Now also has a Facebook page that will track the day’s races with his bib number.

Dowd is already out in Utah getting acclimated to the elevation, and preparing for this Saturday’s competition. Don’t look for him in any of the televised coverage; he doesn’t expect to be anywhere near the leaders in the competition. “One of the challenges for anyone in the Northeast to do a championship this time of year is I haven’t done any open-water swimming yet,” he said. “I’d really like to finish in the top half in my age group.”

He does have goals for the Ironman championships in Slovakia this summer, and next fall in Kona, Hawaii. “Hopefully when I get to Slovakia and Kona, my goals will be more aggressive then,” he said.