Jonathan Grinder – Toughman Arizona Race Director

Where are you from?

I went to college in California and law school at Arizona State University.


What sports and position did you play in school?

I was an All American swimmer in high school and college.


Where did you go to College?

Undergrad at Claremont McKenna College, Master’s at UC Riverside and law school at Arizona State


Did you play sports in College?

Swimming and water polo


When and where did you start doing triathlon?

I was coaching swimming in Southern California and some of my swimmers mentioned this new sport.  So I entered USTS Long Beach in 1982.


How many sprints, Olympic, half ironman, and ironman have you done?

Only one Ironman (Kona), several halfs and over 150 sprint and oly.


Can you give us a list of the races you have done, finish time and place, big race results (like podium finishes, qualifying for nationals or worlds)?

It has been a number of years since I raced.   I was a Triathlon All-American 8 times, a member of Team USA seven times and finished 5th in my age group at World’s twice.


What is your favorite distance to race?

Olympic Distance Events.


What is your favorite race?

They are all good.  The Ultimate Escape (Alcatraz) for the sheer fun of swimming from Alcatraz;  Mad Dog Biathlon for the insanity;  Firebird Lake for the speed;  USTS Phoenix for the competitive field – the list goes on.


Besides triathlon what other sports you do?



What are some or all of the races you work as the race director or assist in directing?

The sport was going through a severe contraction in the early 90s.  A couple of friends and I got together and said that there were no races and we should create some races so we could race.  Of course, we had no idea that you couldn’t race direct and race at the same time.  As the sport grew throughout the 90s we grew with it.


What is your philosophy, mission, or vision as a race director?

Deliver the best possible product to the athletes without compromise.


Name and link to your coaching and race site?

Our company is Tucson Racing, the website is


What races and/or events are you planning on doing in 2016?

Had surgery a year and a half ago so my plan is to participate – emphasize participate – in a triathlon this summer.


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