My name is Jason Pedersen and I am a professional triathlete. I grew up as a runner and competed for five years on Northern Arizona University’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams in Flagstaff, AZ. In 2009 I picked up swimming for cross-training and began racing triathlons for fun. I fell in love with the sport, and became a full-time triathlete after exhausting my NCAA eligibility in May of 2011. I turned professional later that year and raced my first season as a pro in 2012. At the end of 2012 I began working with Paulo Sousa and The Triathlon Squad. At the end of the 2015 season, I decided to leave The Triathlon Squad, move up to LA, get married!, and jump into??real life.
PD is a nickname I picked up from a teammate as a freshman in college.
Running as fast as I can since ’93
I was born May 15, 1987 and grew up in Simi Valley, Ca, just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County. I played lots of sports as a kid, but running was always number one. My older sister began running track so it was only natural that my brother and I gave it a go. I had my first track practice with the Simi Valley Running Rebels in March of 1993 at the ripe old age of 5, and I have been running competitively ever since.
I was fortunate to have immediate success in running. During those first few years, it became apparent that I wouldn’t spend my running career sprinting out of blocks or jumping into sandpits; I was a distance runner. In ’97 I ran a 5:00.01 1500m as a 10 year old and continued to see similar success through elementary and middle school. I raced in many youth national championship races and developed a hunger for high-level competition.
I started high school in the Fall of 2002 as a very ambitious 15 year-old. Alan Webb had broken Jim Ryun’s High School National Record just one year before, and I had already made plans to join the 4-minute club.
As you may have guessed, that never happened. My freshman year went really well, running 9:37.48 for 3200m placing me among the best freshmen in the state. Each year after that, however, I failed to progress like many of my peers: 10-second PR’s turned into 2- or 3-second PR’s, and so on. Fortunately, I was a part of some really great teams at Royal High School (two CIF State titles, one runner-up, and two births to the Nike Team Nationals in cross country) and will cherish the memories we made.
After being on such a great high school team, I wanted a similar experience in college. After taking a few recruiting visits, I decided to spend the next 4 years (or 5 or 6…) competing for and studying Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff at 7,000 feet. I took several trips to Mammoth Lakes in high school for some altitude training (8,000 feet) and it was something I thought could help me bring my running to a new level.
While at NAU, I saw a similar steady progression. The 2008 cross country season I had big improvements, breaking 25 minutes for 8km twice and racing at Nationals on a top-10 team. The 2009 season was my best yet, finishing in the top-100 in the nation and scored on the 4th best team. 2010 was a difficult year for me, missing both indoor and outdoor track seasons because of knee surgery. I worked my butt off all summer and was able to improve on my 2009 cross country campaign by finishing 87th in the nation. I was happy to hang up the cross country spikes as a part of three top 10 teams.
The 2011 track seasons were bittersweet for me. I set a few PR’s, but still didn’t hit the times I knew I was capable of. My collegiate running career came to an end with an Achilles injury that severely limited the amount of training I was able to do over the last month of my outdoor campaign. I remarkably qualified to run at the NCAA Preliminary Round in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field. Injury or not, it was a great setting to finish things up.
In my last couple years running for NAU, I dabbled in triathlons. My commitment continued to grow and eventually joined USAT’s Collegiate Recruitment Program thanks to Barb Lindquist. At this point I had to make a decision whether I would continue to just dabble, or really go for this. John L. Parker, Jr. summarizes this well in??Once a Runner:
It’s a simple choice: We can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters around and get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down, with… take up what a friend of ours calls the hearty challenges of lawn care… Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God’s own messenger delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway! They’ll speak our names in hushed tones, ‘Those guys are animals’ they’ll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a pair of clean heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet. We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!
Of course, I chose to “blaze!”
Living the dream
In 2012 I became a full-time triathlete and moved to Poway, CA to train with The Triathlon Squad under Coach Paulo Sousa. While chasing an Olympic dream, I traveled all over the world racing the ITU circuit. In my triathlon career, I have raced in 14 different countries. In my time with The Triathlon Squad, I made some amazing memories and friendships that I expect to span a lifetime. When I joined The Triathlon Squad, Paulo had a leave-no-stone-left-unturned attitude and told me when it is all said and done, I should look back at my career with no regrets.
I left The Triathlon Squad at the end of 2015 to move back up to Los Angeles and marry Maureen Huber on November 7, 2015. We decided it was time to leave the chase of the Rio Olympics behind, and focus on beginning our lives as “The Pedersens” together. Family and work life will dictate what capacity triathlon has in my future. Regardless, I will look back at this time with fondness and??no regrets.
|Event||800m||1500m/1600m* /Mile**||3km/3200m*||5km||Steeple||Misc. Event|
|2002||2:11.63||4:24.07||9:27.17||–||–||5’01” High Jump|
|2007||–||3:59.58/ 4:18.94**@||8:51.32@||–||9:15.55||72:20 20k|
Swimming (SCY, SCM*, LCM**)