Mother Nature is a beast; she doesn’t stop her powers even for triathletes—evidenced by the conditions in the recent Rev3 Knoxville triathlon. We spotlight the racer we all waited for at the finish line—the one who got the most money’s worth.

Rev3 believes it takes a village to get a triathlete to the finish. Whether you’re a first-place finisher or last, everyone at Rev3 is eager to cheer and motivate you to cross that line. Such is the case with Thor Wilson, a local triathlete who received the power of support as he rounded up the last of the triathletes to finish in Knoxville.

waitingfor Thor

Staff and volunteers waiting for Thor

Unfortunately, Wilson seems plagued by Mother Nature’s prowess in races. “Weather played a huge part for me. It always seems to. My first triathlon was Memphis in May last year. The weather had been reasonable for most of the week prior with highs in the upper 60s and low 70s. Then, like three days prior, it got hot and race day was in the low 90s…brutal run,” says Wilson. You’d think he’d receive a reprieve this May—as he should deserve good karma, but you’d be wrong.

 “Again, Knoxville changed at the last minute. It got cold and rained all day. Friday was in the high 70s with sun. By race morning, I believe they said the air temp was 42 and the water about 56. When I went into the water with a full 5/3 mm wetsuit, it took my breath away. It was cold,” he says.

Wilson tried to warm up, but with no avail. “As I swam, I thought I would never get to the red buoys. It seemed like swimming uphill. My whole body seemed tight from the cold. I had to focus on just slowing down and concentrating on my stroke,” he says.


After the swim, he experienced hamstring camps most likely from the temperature of the water. In transition, he put on some extra clothes and yellow-lensed glasses to accentuate the light—a smart move as he could view the road more properly. But the wet conditions played a significant role in his ability to bike—he remained extra cautious riding the down hills. He did finish, despite others taking DNFs.

Luckily, the run offered a “fun” element with the flooding. “My only real problem was my hamstring. At first, I just wanted to see if I could get my legs going after the bike ride. After about four miles, I was feeling better. At about two miles, a couple guys with Rev3 in a buggy stopped me and told me about the flooding. They said they might have to stop the race,” Wilson says. “Everyone along the way encouraged me though…runners, volunteers, Rev3 staff.”

Although he currently lives in West Tennessee now, Wilson grew up near Knoxville and this was a homecoming of softs. He grew up on the University of Tennessee (UT) campus and was on the swim team that practiced at the UT Aquatic Center.

Despite all the hamstring issues, flooding and unforgiving weather, expect to see Wilson toeing the line in another half and maybe even the Rev3 Knoxville again. “The Rev3 team and volunteers were the ones who made the whole thing a positive experience because they were helpful and supportive at every turn of the courses.” He is even considering a full in the right location—something flat and temperate.

Wilson’s words describe a typical triathlete: “In the end, overcoming all of it made me prouder to have finished than if it would have been sunny and 70 degrees.”

 -Jennifer Purdie