He has also competed in three world championship events—the 2016 Half Ironman World Championship in Australia, the 2017 Olympic Distance World Championship in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and the 2018 ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championship in Denmark.
“I’m most proud of these two events,” says Dr. Phillips, referring to those in Australia and Rotterdam. “I set personal records, bested my own time in terms of distance. In neither race was I anywhere close to the top 10, because they were world championship events, but I proved to myself that I wasn’t last or anywhere close to last.”
He also brings his own cheerleaders—his wife, Katherine, and their three children, 10-year-old Bryce, 8-year-old Caleb and 5-year-old Grant—to events. “My family is my support group,” says Dr. Phillips. “When they come to these races, they sometimes blow loud horns, ring cow bells, climb on statues to see me and literally pick me up off the ground when I have no strength to even stand.”
Dr. Phillips says the injuries he has experienced have actually helped him better communicate and empathize with patients. “I’ve done physical therapy. I’ve injected my knee. I’ve injected my shoulder,” he says.
He also says competing in triathlons makes him happy and a better physician, and is a fun way to spend time with his family. Who could argue with that?
Carol Patton is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas.