Long-time XTERRA pro Craig Evans went from that “fat guy” coming out of the water 13 years ago to one of the best amateurs in the Southeast to a card-carrying pro to a legit contender in the sports’ biggest races.
Now he just wants to be a Dad.
After a two-year stint where Evans focused full-time on being a professional triathlete he got a job offer he couldn’t refuse to return to the “real world,” make some real money, and spend some real time at home with his wife and kids.
“I’ve been going full time now for two years and it’s hard. Hard to work the family/life balance,” said Evans, one of the most consistent performers in the sport for the last several years. “I’ve come to the realization that my kids are getting older and I’ve missed too many baseball games and gymnastics, and I want to get back to my family. I’ll still come in and maybe race once a year and throw my hat in the ring, but this is definitely my last full year and Sunday just may be my last race of the year.”
The 37-year-old from Hendersonville, Tennessee says the thought of walking away from a sport he’s dedicated the last decade of his life to won’t be easy.
“I was talking to my wife on the drive over here and actually got pretty emotional and she had to kinda talk me off the ledge,” said Evans. “It all kind of hit me, I was a mess. I’ve made life-long friends here, and will definitely stay in touch. Triathlon will still play an important role in my life just not in the full capacity of me trying to make a living at it.”
Before you feel too bad for Evans, understand that he’s smart and skilled and got a really good job offer.
“A Southeastern regional management position, going back into the making money world so yeah, don’t feel too bad for me,” explained Evans. “I have a sales background, I don’t have a pure fitness background, so I couldn’t go manage a gym or work in a bike shop or something like.”
On Sunday he says he’s pulling out all the stops, taking one last shot at a title.
“A lot of people told me when I first turned professional that there was ‘no way’, ‘don’t do it’, ‘you’re making a huge mistake’ and my goal then was to prove them wrong. I think I did pretty good at that. Now it’s all about my family.”