Tony O’Keeffe Impressive @ 2012 Ultraman World Championships
51-year-old, LCol Tony O’Keeffe completed his first triathlon since 2008, and his first endurance race since his major bike / truck accident one year ago. The former RMCC Director of Cadets crossed the finish line 3rd in the Men’s division (4th overall) at the Ultraman World Championships held in Hawaii.
The Chateauguay, Quebec, native finished a miracle comeback from severe 2011 injuries with an 8:25:17 double marathon. He holds a BMASc from RMC, and a Masters Degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Tony was riding his bike near Colorado Springs in Fall of 2011 when a truck hit him head on and he was launched through the truck’s windshield. After he was extracted, carbon fiber pieces of his brake lever were embedded in his femur, and he required reconstructive surgery on his face and multiple ligament damage in his leg which had to be replaced by cadaver parts. O’Keeffe, the 2008 Ultraman runner-up in a personal record time of 22:31:54, resumed swimming and biking much earlier, but could not resume running until two months ago. Many thought his participation would be honorary after the swim and the bike as the stress of a 52-4 mile double marathon would be too much to bear.
“When I arrived back on the Big Island I looked around and thought: I didn’t come all this way to DNF,” said O’Keeffe. “I knew I wanted to compete, so I went as hard as I could and I told myself if I have to walk, I’m going to walk. I’m OK with it.”
O’Keeffe did far, far better than that, and he takes pains to explain that he has nothing to complain about. “I serve with the best men in the military and many of them come back from Afghanistan and Iraq with truly devastating injuries. Whatever pain is out there in Ultraman is just a reminder that I am one of the luckiest guys in the world because I can still do challenging things.”
The 31 year Canadian Forces veteran started Day 1 with the 2nd-fastest 3:10:42 swim against tough currents, then biked 6:15:03 to stand 8th in 9:25:45 on total time. On Day 2 he rode the 4th fastest 8:05:47 split to stand 3rd male and 4th overall in 17:31:12. On Day 3 his 8th-fastest 8:25:17 run brought him home 4th overall and 3rd male in 25:56:29.
Alexandre Ribeiro of Brazil – the overall winner, had this to say :
“What Tony did today was fantastic,” said Ribeiro. “To survive that accident and then come race with the best in the world at age 51 makes him a very special guy.”
All his friends from RMCC and Ex Cadet acquaintances – salute LCol Tony O’Keeffe!
Executive Director Moves On…
He was in the chair for slightly over a year.
Michael joined the Canadian Forces in 1979 starting at Le College militaire royal de Saint-Jean. In 1984, he graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a Bachelor of Arts (Commerce) and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
He earned a PhD, (International Relations, Canadian Foreign Policy, Defence Economics), Defence Management and Policy) also from RMCC in 2010.
Besides his Doctorate, he holds two Master’s degrees including a Master’s of Arts (Defence Management and Policy), from his Alma mater and a Master’s of Management in Defence Studies, University of Canberra, Australia.
The retired Lieutenant Colonel has wasted little time in re-establishing himself around the college. Dr. Rostek has signed on as a contract professor with Department of Political and Economic Science. He also has at least two other part-time professor positions elsewhere. In short, he is fully engaged in his new positions.
All of us connected with the RMC Club including executive members and the Panet House staff, thank him for his contributions to the success of the operation over the past year and wish him continued success in the future.
The search for his successor is now in the home stretch and he / she is expected to be named in a week or so.
In the meantime, S125 Bill Oliver has been asked and has accepted to fill the role on an Interim basis until the new Executive Director is in place which could be as early as February.