Leigh Plowman: 2017 XTERRA European M60-64 Champion

Leigh is one of the athletes that raced a lot with us this year. He won some races and was always on top 5 in his Age Group in every race he participated.

“One of the things that I like in Leigh is his positive attitude. He is such a nice person, always with a smile and a nice word for everybody. He always share a beer with us at the awards ceremony. A real XTERRA warrior and a great character” said Kostas Koumargialis, XTERRA Europe marketing Director.

At our last race in Denmark, Leigh was already the champion in his Age Group but still wanted to race as hard as possible. After the race we took some time to learn more about him.

XE: What is your Name, Age, Country and place of Stay?

Leigh Plowman, 60 yrs, American living in Germany

XE: What is your occupation, family Status?

I run a vacation resort for the US Military in Garmisch, Germany. We provide R&R (Rest and Relaxation) activities for US Service Members and their families. I live with my German wife, Dagmar, and our two daughters Anna and Sophia.

XE: How many years you are involved with triathlon? What is your athletic background-How all started?

I was out of shape and feeling fat at 30 years old so I signed up for a triathlon as a way to get back into shape. My 1st triathlon was in 1987 (I won my age group and the other guy got 2nd J) Since then, many years of all distances from short to Ironman as well as lots of Mt Bike and Road Bike racing. Of course IM Kona was a big goal for me when I started out and I have raced there twice, 2003 and 2007. My biggest age group win was IM USA Lake Placid in 2007.

I met my good friend Marty Smith at a Mt Bike race in 2005 and he suggested I try an Xterra. Within a month I was at Xterra Czech and had a blast, I also raced in Austria, Germany, Spain, Wales and Maui that same year. I was struck by the accessibility to the Pros and their friendliness and helpfulness to everyone. The age groupers are all friendly and helpful before, during and after races. And I love the cool locations and tough courses that are found on tour. Marty was an Xterra Warrior but suffered a stroke a few years ago and can no longer race in Xterras, I think of him during every race and wish him well in his recovery.

I injured my feet in 2007 and had to take a six year break from running and triathlons. I really missed it so I decided to try a little comeback in 2014 in Zittau. As soon as I arrived at the race venue I ran into the Kahuna who gave me a big bear hug and asked where I had been all of those years.

Just shows that the Xterra Family is the best around!

XE: Which of the three disciplines is your favorite?

I’ve been a Mountain Bike fan for years. I love finding new trails and challenges around every corner. My swim is ok and I’m working on getting my run back to where it was years ago before my injuries…..

XE: How many XTERRA did you raced in 2017, (results)

9 Euro races – Cyprus 2nd; Greece 2nd, Belgium 1st, Finland 1st, Switzerland 4th, Italy 2nd, Poland 4th, Germany 1st, Denmark 4th.

XE: What was the best/worst moment of 2017?

Winning at the German Championships with a bigger field in my age group was the best this season.

Bonking on the run in Switzerland after a decent swim and bike was a bummer. Even that was a great experience because before the bonk my buddy Zdenek Orner and I had an epic battle on the bike. Really fun!

XE: Where will be the best XTERRA place for you?

Where ever the next race is. Every place is unique and beautiful and we meet old friends and rivals as well as make new friends to become rivals at each site.

XE: How do you keep the balance between regular work, family & friends and training? How do you keep motivated?

It is hard to work full time, find time to train, travel and race. My family and my boss at work are supportive and that helps. I often train with younger guys and get motivation from making them work to keep up with the “Old Man”. In the end, it’s all for fun which is the greatest motivator there is for me.

XE: What is your suggestion to someone that wants to change his life and start doing sports but has limited time?

Make the most of the time you do have and make sure to have fun along the way. Get outside and try new healthy activities. Base your goals more on improving your own health and fitness first rather than making all of your goals based on race results. Racing is not for everyone but good health, happiness and fun are for everyone.

XE: Who is for you, on the racer, a good XTERRA character and why?

If you are asking about a particular racer, it’s hard to pin it down to just one. If someone races one Xterra and likes it enough to do another one, they are that character. That means they like the difficult challenge and want to race hard and fair and they actually enjoy the difficult elements that the weather and terrain throw at us at each event. My buddy “The Frenchman” really defines that, he will race you neck to neck, is a fierce competitor but will stop to offer assistance if you have a mechanical in the middle of the race. The Frenchman would say “Race Hard, Race Fair and NEVER GIVEUP”. YeeHaa!

XE: Where was your favorite race in the Euro Tour 2017?

I liked them all, but Finland was my favorite! Great swim course, most awesome bike course and a challenging run. I was happy not to lose my shoes in the swamp 🙂

XE: What are your plans for 2018?

I’m looking at a similar number of European Xterra races next season but with the new race venues that are being added I may have to do even more than this year. Beaver Creek has also been on my list for awhile so you never know…… And Maui is always a great way to finish off a season.