Jamie Metzl ’97 took the inspiration where he could find it. After swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and in the middle of a 26-mile run, his body was screaming at him to stop. Then a beautiful woman passed him. “If I had more energy, I’d follow you,” he told her. “Meet me at the finish line,” she replied.

In truth, he didn’t really need the inspiration. He was determined to accomplish his goal, for himself and for those who donated to charity to support his effort. “The thing that was fueling me was not energy,” he said, “but the feeling that I had to finish.” And the moment he completed his first Ironman competition, held in Lake Placid, N.Y., in late July, he was determined to do it again.

Metzl is no stranger to endurance contests. While at HLS, he ran the Boston Marathon three times, and he has finished four half-Ironman events. A National Security Council and State Department official during the Clinton administration, Metzl decided to take on his greatest athletic challenge after last year’s presidential election was decided. He combined his avocation and new vocation as a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., when, on a trip in May to study war-torn East Timor, he trained with the country’s Olympic runners. He trained at home before and after work and on the weekends, and in the mountains of Colorado with his brother Jordan, who also competed in the race.

No amount of training, however, can truly prepare you, Metzl said. He knew that after the bike race, when his legs wobbled so much that he could barely walk. That those depleted legs then carried him the distance of a marathon showed him that discipline and focus can make anything possible, he said.

“You’re forced to look into those reserve tanks and all you have is spirit and hope and all the intangibles,” said Metzl. “It’s really an empowering feeling to realize how much we all have within us.”

Donations in recognition of Metzl’s race may be made to Rwanda Children’s Fund, P.O. Box 7094, Arlington, VA 22207-0094.