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Three Generations of Bob Willixes Go Against the Odds to Compete in Ironman Competition Together
Added: 09/05/2012 - Michelle Soudry

The Willixes keep their dedication to health in the family. When Dr. Robert "Bob" Willix, Jr., M.D., CEO and CMO of Cenegenics Medical Institute Boca Raton and CMO of Cenegenics Medical Institute, started competitive running, his son Bob Willix followed suit and began exercising – he was only 14. Running together turned into multiple father-son triathlons throughout the early 80s. Dr. Willix’s father, also named Bob Willix, began this legacy, running marathons into his 80s. What was passed from father to son, and then again from father to son, is making its way down the generations. For the first time, Dr. Willix, his son Bob Willix and his grandson Bobby Willix are venturing to accomplish something that no other family has done before - an Ironman featuring three generations, all with the same name, competing together in May of next year.

This is not the first Ironman competition for the Willix family. Dr. Willix completed his first Ironman at 43 years old on October 6, 1984, in Kona, Hawaii, while his son, Bob Willix, has completed five Ironman competitions and, most recently, an Ultraman competition in August 2012.

The traditional Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 26.2 mile run and 112 mile bike ride, all completed in one day. While Dr. Willix’s grandson Bobby has not yet competed in an Ironman competition, he was there every step of the way when his father competed in the Ultraman competition. Spread over three days and more than double the distance of a traditional Ironman, the Ultraman competition requires a support team. On the swim, Bobby was the kayak escort for his father Bob Willix – kayaking with him for the entirety of the 6.5 mile swim and stopping with him to provide him with water and nutrition. During the bike ride, Bobby, his brother Chas, aunt Michelle and mother Michelle supported his father by car, stopping every 8-10 miles to feed him and let him fill up on water. Bobby also helped to pace his father during the run, running close to 16-17 miles side-by-side.

As Bob Willix says of his family’s phenomenal support throughout the Ultraman competition, "We were all at the finish line, we were all crying. It was a victory for everyone. Without them, I couldn’t have done the event. I ended up being in the record book for completing it, but there should be an asterisk next to it, because without them I couldn’t finish it."

Now, the family is taking their shared passion for health to the next level as they work towards a common goal of completing an Ironman competition together.

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