Noel Mulkey Transformation From Heroin Addict to IRONMAN


Noel Mulkey, 27, seemed each inch the athlete heading into the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Nice, France. Having educated to his fullest; setting his alarm for 3am within the days main as much as the competitors, the Tulsa, OK, native undertook 60-mile indoor bike rides adopted by 4-mile runs to arrange for the extreme competitors that occurred September 10.

It’s laborious to imagine then, that this pushed athlete was as soon as on a downward spiral that threatened to take him from this earth earlier than hitting the age of 30. But, because of a debilitating heroin dependancy, imminent demise turned the norm earlier than Mulkey turned his life round by way of train.

Now grateful for every new day that he wakes up and realizes that he’s nonetheless within the land of the residing, this inspiration opens as much as M&F in regards to the depths that he as soon as sunk to, and the highs that he now receives by pushing by way of the exhilarating obstacles of wholesome competitors.

“I started experimenting with substances when I first got to high school,” says Mulkey. “It seemed like everyone in high school was smoking weed and drinking. The first mind-altering substances that I tried gave me the relief I’d been looking for my whole life.”

A combination of peer stress and his personal psychological well being issues had prompted Mulkey to self-medicate. “I first tried heroin when I was 16,” he shares. As the server at his native restaurant, Mulkey poured each cent that he earned into feeding his spiraling $500-a-day drug dependancy. Prioritizing heroin over the whole lot and everybody else, he pawned gadgets of his mother’s jewellery and even discovered himself forging her checks. “I was destroying my body,” displays Mulkey. “I was always cold and had heart palpitations. I hated how I felt all the time. I had bruises, cuts, and a massive cyst on my bicep from missing a vein one time. It became a hard bump that swelled up to the size of a golf ball. I was pale and had no muscle or energy for anything.”

It can be a life-changing second that lastly prompted Mulkey to make some severe modifications to his lifeless life-style. “I was sitting in a garage with a guy that I went to middle school with,” he recollects. “We were smoking meth and he shot up with heroin. He overdosed, and as I was rushing him to the hospital, I could tell he was dying. When we arrived at the hospital, he flat-lined three-times right there on the table. My friend lived that night, but that was it for me. As I’d listened to his lungs make the death rattle sound in the backseat of my car, I remember thinking that life is not supposed to be this hard.”

Noel Mulkey competing in an IRONMAN race
Donald Miralle / IRONMAN

Noel Mulkey Found that Beating Addiction Is Rarely a Linear Process

While Mulkey had lastly confronted as much as the truth that he was a drug addict, he quickly discovered that beating an dependancy usually comes with its personal highs and lows. Mulkey spent a number of stints in rehab, however didn’t fully cease taking heroin in these early days. When he lastly received management of his substance abuse, Mulkey discovered himself changing medicine with unhealthy meals. “I had zero regard for what I was putting into my body,” says Mulkey. “I was depressed, eating garbage, and had no aspirations or motivation for life. I was ‘sober’ from drugs, but still felt miserable. I would binge on Sonic drive-through food. One time, I sat down and ate 18 donuts in one sitting. I never just ‘take it easy.’ It seems I go from zero to 100 with everything I get myself into.” Fortunately, Mulkey was about to exchange unfavourable habits with constructive ones since he felt bored with all the time feeling drained, and determined to get into form. “At my heaviest, I was 198 pounds,” says Mulkey, who’s 5’11”.

“Now, 198 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was all fat, and I could barely run around the block. I lost 58 pounds in three months when I first started exercising and getting back on track.”

Noel Mulkey Dug Deep to Trade Drugs for Daily Workouts

Instead of drowning in unfavourable ideas, Mulkey determined to focus his attentions on pushing his bodily potential. “It all became a possibility when I decided to lose weight,” he recollects. “I was completely disgusted with how I looked and hated going out in public. I decided that I wanted to lose weight and I became obsessed with that instead. One day, I went on a run around the block and although I could barely run the whole block, I absolutely loved the feeling that it gave me. Soon, I was running 60 to 70-miles a week.”

Fortunately, Mulkey’s household have been in a position to assist him harness his new discovered obsession with shedding pounds and turning into fitter.

“My dad was a runner, and he told me that I was going to get injured from running so many miles on no base. He suggested biking and swimming because they are good methods for cross-training. I already had a swimming background (Mulkey swam competitively in his eighth grade) and so I picked that up easily too. Some time later, we heard of a local triathlon. I signed up and did well. I fell in love with endurance racing after that. Ten IRONMAN triathlons later, I’m hooked!” Of course, going from the sofa to turning into extremely energetic is one thing that must be adjusted to slowly. It is beneficial to hunt the recommendation of a medical or health skilled earlier than embarking by yourself constructive health journey.

Noel Mulkey Now Helps Others to Vanquish Their Own Negative Habits

After logging on to social media, Mulkey started to share clips of his life, coaching progress, and efforts in competitors. “I’ve received messages telling me that my videos are the reason someone didn’t commit suicide,” he shares. “I’ve had messages telling me that my videos are the reason someone lost 50 pounds. I have unbelievable support and I never thought that would happen. I’ve received mail and gifts. Some of the messages and gifts that I’ve received have made me cry. Those are genuinely some of the best moments I’ve had, and easily the reason that I continue to document this journey day after day.”

On Sept. 10 in Nice, Mulkey did himself proud as soon as once more, finishing the IRONMAN World Championship in 11 hours, 50 minutes, and 38 seconds. That time put him comfortably within the prime half of opponents performing the three.8km (2.4 miles) swim, 180.2km (112 miles) on the bike, and (26.2 mile) run. Of course, turning into a winner is a person journey, and having amassed greater than 1.5m viewers on TikTok, this addict turned athlete and inspiration is as victorious as they arrive. “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Mulkey, giving hope to anybody who’s struggling with their very own dependancy points. “Exercising or getting outside, even for just 10 minutes each day can turn your whole day around. Reach out to people and join a community, I’m also here if anyone needs some advice and a friend.”

Next up for Mulkey is the IRONMAN World Championship Kona qualification happening at IRONMAN Western Australia on December 3. “In my opinion, exercise and training are the best mental health medications that anyone can get,” concludes Mulkey. “I went my whole life trying to find an outlet or some sort of ‘drug’ but nothing makes me feel the way that training does.” Follow Noel Mulkey on TikTok and find out about IRONMAN at


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