don hart

Don Hart USAT athlete extraordinaire – USAT # 1206

Don was born November 15, 1934 in Oklahoma City, sadly he passed away from cancer two days shy of his 79th birthday last November. Don was one of the original board members of the Triathlon Club of Oklahoma City – TRI –OKC, organized in January 2003. Don graduated from Classen High School in Oklahoma City in 1952 and from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geology, chemistry and physics in 1957. He married his wife Ann in 1957 and they have two daughters. Unfortunately, Ann’s health is not good and she and her daughters are unable to attend this evening, but they are grateful and excited that Don is being inducted into the SMW Region’s Hall of Fame.

Don had an outstanding career in his profession and in athletics. Don worked for the US Geological Survey for 30 years as a hydrologist and geologist searching for fresh water for public supplies in Oklahoma and New Mexico. He published 40 scientific reports and articles regarding these studies.

Don’s athletic career started in high school wrestling. He was Oklahoma State Wrestling Champion in 1952 and was Conference Champion at OU in 1954 and 1955. Don is the only wrestler to have beaten Myron Roderick (who was wrestling coach and Athletic Director at Oklahoma State University. After college, Don was an avid tennis player and golfer for the next 25 years – and then – in 1983 at age 48 he took up running, duathlon and triathlon. Don completed in excess of 150 multisport events and over 170 running events- actually probably many more than this -- since those stats were as of his 2006 bio. Don was featured as an “Age Group All Star” in Triathlete Magazine in November 2006. 

Some of Don’s significant achievements include:

USAT Ranked number 1 in Duathlon age group 70-74 in 2005
He competed for TEAM USA in three duathlon world championships:
7th place age division at the 1994 Duathlon World Championship Australia
6th place age division at the 1995 Duathlon World Championship Mexico
13th place age division at the 1996 Duathlon World Championships Italy
He won his age group at the 2005 Frost Yer Fanny, March in Okarche, Lazy E, and Draper Lake Duathlons
He won 2nd place in his age group at the USAT National Long Course Championships in 2006

Don’s most significant triathlon achievements include:

1st place in age division 70-74 in 2005 Buffalo Springs Half Iron Man
2nd place age (70-74) at 2005 Ironman Kona world championship

1st place age group at 2009 Kansas Ironman    

Don also placed first in his age group in the Dallas White Rock Marathon in 1995 and 2nd AG in the 1997 Austin Marathon along with 2nd AG at the 2001 inaugural Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
Needless to say, Don was a very fine athlete but even a finer friend and cheerleader to his fellow multisporters. The following are recollections of Don written by some of his multisport friends.

Remembered by John Hildenbrand – Don always approached you with that grin of his whether it was in the locker room, getting ready to go out on a ride or at the finish line of a race. He was a selfless person always wanting to know how you were doing both in life and in training. He wanted to know what your race schedule was for the year. All while not bringing up his plans or accomplishments unless you pulled it out if him.

Whenever you saw him he would comment on your latest race results as he followed what his friends were doing. He could go into your splits and ask if you were satisfied with them. 

Racing and traveling with Don was a joy as his upbeat attitude and making friends wherever you would go kept the trip positive. We had to convince Don to do buffalo springs 70.3 to get a Kona slot. He wails say think I can? We'll he won his AG at Buffalo Springs in 2005 and went to Kona for his first attempt at an Ironman. Well, he not only finished with a smile, but took 2nd in the world! At the finish line going back to the hotel room with him was like doing the run again for me as his fast pace walking was hard to keep up with. At the awards we were all giving him congratulations and his attitude was just an aw shucks, just a race. 

In his later years he never complained about his medical situation always figuring out how to get his training in around it and keeping a positive attitude and smile. He treated his medical diagnosis as an athletic event he was going to figure out and compete against.

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