Simon Gowen Triathlon Show on LA Talk Radio

January 27, 2011 – Brian Boyle

Iron Heart Brian Boyle lost 60 percent of his blood in a car accident in 2004 and was in a coma for over 2 months. Doctors told him that he would never walk again but within three years he crossed the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman. On the show, Brian talks about his miraculous recovery and Ironman journey, which was the subject of his book Iron Heart.  

To play or download Brian’s interview, please click here

About the Simon Gowen Triathlon Show 

Simon Gowen has worked with the ITU, USAT and Universal Sports, covering the sport of Triathlon.  His radio show is live on LA Talk Radio, Channel 2 every Thursday at 11 am Pacific Time.   Tune in to the show to learn exactly how the best triathletes in the world train, eat and mentally prepare themselves for race day. Find out about the latest news, equipment and buzz in the tri world.

The Simon Gowen Triathlon Show is podcasted on iTunes and has a wealth of archives including interviews with most of the top names in the sport. Tune in, be entertained and learn from the very best how to raise your game.


ABC News – Red Cross Makes Urgent Plea for Blood Donors

American Red Cross Says Winter Weather Causing Blood Shortage

By Kim Carollo, ABC News

Brian Boyle never gave much thought to donating blood until a horrific accident nearly seven years ago.

“One month after my high school graduation, I was coming home from swim practice when I had a near- fatal car accident with a dump truck,” said Boyle. “My heart was ripped across my chest, my lungs collapsed, my organs were damaged, I broke my clavicle and I lost 60 percent of my blood.”

Boyle, now 24, was in a medically-induced coma for two months and among other life-saving procedures, had 36 blood transfusions and 13 plasma treatments.

He said he could not have survived without blood transfusions, which is why he now encourages people to get out and donate.

The cold weather months are an especially vital time to push for donations, because the number of donors tends to decrease during the winter. This winter has brought especially brutal weather across the country, and according to the American Red Cross, the nationwide blood supply is at its lowest January levels in the last 10 years. The agency is trying to get the word out that blood is urgently needed.

“When severe weather disrupts [the balance between supply and demand], the Red Cross puts out a call to potential blood donors across the country to give blood as soon as possible and help make up the deficit,” Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, said in a press release.

The Red Cross says someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds in the U.S. because of injuries, surgery and treatments for diseases like cancer and sickle cell anemia. The organization says it needs all blood types, especially type O, and encourages everyone at least 17 years old in overall good health to see if they are eligible to donate.

Blood and blood components, like platelets, are extremely perishable and need to be replenished constantly.

“Platelets have a shelf life of only five days, and regular bood has a shelf life of 6 weeks,” said Dr. Ronald Sacher, director of the Hoxworth Blood Center at the University of Cincinnati.

Sacher says the Hoxworth’s supply is about 520 units below what it should be.

“We need about 350 units a day and last week, we collected barely half of that,” he said.

Snowstorms have besieged the midwestern United States and other parts of the country, making it difficult to hold blood drives and to encourage people to get out and donate.

“This is a season where individuals are affected by winter-related illnesses, so that always has an effect, and if you add successive snow storms, people are not able to get out and donate,” Sacher added.

Holiday obligations also tend to take their toll on the number of blood donations, and combined with the bad weather and the increased number of elective surgeries that happen in January, experts say there’s definitely a need.

The Red Cross says more than 14,000 donations have been cancelled by the weather, and Sacher says numerous community blood drives near Hoxworth had to be cancelled as well.

While many centers do have shortages, others not as affected by the weather have a decent supply right now.

Jim MacPherson, the chief executive officer of America’s Blood Centers, an alliance of 75 community-based blood centers around the country, said only a handful of the organization’s members have an urgent need for blood.

“Right now, most have about a 4-day supply,” said MacPherson. “We consider a 2- to 3-day supply to be safe until we absolutely have to go out and get more.”

MacPherson said when the supply gets down to about 2 days worth of blood, centers will start previous donors to encourage them to donate. After that, centers will reach out to community organizations and ask them to hold blood drives and if there’s still a need, will try to get blood from other centers that may have a surplus.

The media is often a last resort, because publicity tends to attract prior donors, who will then be unable to give blood for a while. Centers, he said, hope to reach out to new donors.

“The fact that the Red Cross has reached out to the media means they have a very urgent need,” he said.

The New York Blood Center, which provides blood to more than 200 hospitals and serves more than 20 million people, says despite the area’s brutal winter, supplies are adequate.

Rob Purvis, the vice president of the New York Blood Center, says one advantage regional blood centers have over national organizations like the American Red Cross is a stronger connection with donors.

“Our donors are connected with our hospitals in a way,” he said. “When you’re distributing on a national basis sometimes, that connection doesn’t happen as freely.”

Another issue that inhibits blood supply is that only about 30 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, and of those, only about 5 percent actually do.

“The low eligibility is mostly related to illness-related exclusions and travel to areas where there are concerns about infections,” said Sacher.

Most donors are also older adults, which is why Sacher said Hoxworth Blood Center, the center he directs, often reaches out to students at the center’s affiliated University of Cincinnati.

These new donors are exactly the ones Brian Boyle wants to encourage to get out and donate. He works with the Red Cross to get the message out.

“By giving just a little bit of your time, you can give somebody like me a lifetime,” he said.

Read Full Article at

Ultrarunning Magazine

January / February 2011

You Don’t Just See It, You Feel It

By Brian Boyle 

The race was a nonstop adventure.  I have a very limited background in trail racing so the JFK 50 was my initiation to this style of running, and was also my first ultramarathon.  I went into the event with the hope that if I could get through the Appalachian Trail (AT) section, I could push through and make it to the finish, so running a strong AT was my main strategy for the day.

When the race began, everyone kind of clustered together in a large pack, with many conversations going on all around as we ran.  After a few minutes on the road, the pack started to break up into smaller groups.  When we got to the rolling hills some people would start to walk in order to conserve their energy, with some even walking backwards up the hills.

After we left the paved roads that comprised our first few miles, we finally made our way to an ominous-looking sign that said “Appalachian Trail” in very rugged letters, and it quickly became really clear why everyone says that this is a very technical trail.  With my background in triathlons and road marathons, I’ve never experienced anything even close to this.

The trail itself was decked out with splintered rock, boulders, roots, sticks, tree stumps and logs.  I found that the real struggle was knowing how to position each foot because every step had to be so soft and precise.  As new and difficult as it was, I was loving it because it was such a new experience and a nice change from running on flat surfaces for miles at a time.  Every turn or hill on the AT was something new so the senses were hurrying to react with every split second. Everyone was very courteous, too, so if somebody missed a step or tripped or even fell, those around would make sure they were okay, it felt like a really safe environment because we were all in this together.

My legs were pretty beat up by the time we hit the C&O Canal.  After the first mile or so, I went on autopilot and just focused on moving forward at a steady pace.  I would walk through the aid stations and pick up the rhythm again for the next three to four miles to the next station and found this to be a pretty good strategy.

At mile 27, I saw my parents and my training partner (an English bulldog named Daisy) and that really gave me a boost.  My parents have attended every one of my athletic events since I was a kid, and we have been through a lot together.  This was our first ultramarathon and they were really relieved I’d made it through the AT unscathed.  I liked the sound of finishing in ten hours, but I knew that I had to keep a steady pace for the rest of the race to accomplish that.

Miles 30 to 35 were consistent, but I could feel some heavy fatigue setting in, and I was being haunted by the fact that my body was still in recovery mode from my Ironman two weeks ago.

Miles 40 to 48 were all about moving forward in a mode that could only be described as tunnel vision.  Time seemed to stand still as the trail transformed into a never-ending path of dirt, gravel, and leaves.  At this point, it was a team effort amongst all the runners and everyone was pushing each other to stay strong and dig deep for the final segment.

I know that I don’t have the best running form or technique, but I run on pure heart and determination; in my darkest moments, when the thought of stopping or slowing down is surfacing in my mind, I reflect on the long road to recovery I’ve been on since 2004.  I think about being in ICU, being confined to my bed with the thought of never walking again, seeing my parents suffer as they looked upon what used to be their vibrant son.  In moments like this, it’s almost like something ignites within and my heart explodes with a surge of energy that only happens after my body has been pushed to that limit. 

It was about mile 49.5 where I could hear the cheers from the spectators at the finish line.  I gave it everything I had left and sprinted in for a time of 9:50:16.  My first ultramarathon – complete!  I can now fully understand why runners love ultrarunning so much, and with my first 50 under my belt, I’m already setting my sights on the next goal: a 100-miler.

On a personal level, I find that the finish line is where you really see the spirit of the runners.  You look around at all these athletes who have been preparing for months, even years, for this event; who have been out on this treacherous course for ten to 14 hours, and you don’t just see it, you feel it.  It’s so emotional; instant camaraderie when you cross that line.  You see people you have interacted with and cheered for since the early morning, overcoming the same obstacles together, and you share in the triumph together.

As I crossed the finish line of my first ultra, with many more to come, it was an amazing feeling.

Brian running in the JFK 50


Now an Ironman triathlete and an ultramarathoner, a little over six years ago, Brian Boyle was nothing more than a skeleton on his deathbed.  One month after graduating high school in 2004, he was coming home from swim practice and was involved in a car accident with a dump truck.  The impact of the crash ripped his heart across his chest, shattered ribs/clavicle/pelvis and collapsed his lungs, with damage to every single organ along with kidney and liver failure, as well as loss of 60 percent of his blood.

After spending two months in a coma on life-support, 14 operations, 36 blood transfusions, 13 plasma treatments, Boyle had lost 100 pounds.  In a wheelchair for over two months, he had to learn how to talk, eat, shower, and live independently again.

Boyle says, “I strive to live everyday to the fullest and competing in these ultra-distance events is all about the thrill of the challenge and celebrating life.”

Presentation at Ryken High School


"Iron Heart" by Jack Donnelly, 22 x 28, Mixed Media

By Pete Hurrey of The Baynet

Local sports celebrity and miracle of modern medicine, Brian Boyle stopped by Ryken High School last week to talk with students and athletes about his ordeal, his book Iron Heart and his inspiration that led him to be a competitive Iron Man Marathoner after almost losing his life in a car accident a few years back.

According to Boyle, English teacher Misty Frantz used his book as an assignment for her English, non-fiction class last spring. Frantz also assigned the project to her junior English class and invited Boyle to speak with her students.  “I appreciated hearing their feedback on the book because I began writing it only a few years after I graduated high school, so the perspective that they had was enlightening,” said  Boyle.

Boyle stated that some of the students completed various projects regarding the book. “At the end of the day I was presented with one of these projects – artwork by Jack Donnelly, class of 2011.”

The athlete stated that since he only graduated himself in 2004, he understands the challenge teachers and educators have trying to get kids to read and that is especially true when students cannot engage with the content and subject matter of the assignment.

“When speaking with the junior class and later with the seniors, I was very happy to hear that the story was able to relate to them in some form or another, and listening to their perspective was personally inspiring.  Hearing their direct feedback gave me the opportunity to understand that the story made a connection with each student, whether it was through the factor of family, faith, setting goals in life, sports, health, dealing with injuries, setbacks, and tragedy, or all of the above.”

Boyle enjoyed hearing from some students that even though they don’t enjoy reading they enjoyed his book. “I also thought it was pretty cool when some of the students told me that they dislike reading books in general, but they really enjoyed reading Iron Heart.”

Boyle stated, “I enjoyed spending time with the students, answering their questions in and out of class, and it warms my heart knowing that my visit was as meaningful to them as it was to me,” said Boyle who stated that they were an incredible group of students.

Full article can be seen here.