Biography

 

During fitness training near his hometown in June 1988, John Maclean was hit by an 8 tonne truck as he rode his bike. The impact resulted in John suffering multiple breaks to his pelvis and back, a fractured sternum, punctured lungs, a broken arm, and left John a paraplegic. It took astonishing courage and determination, but somehow this near-fatal accident was the making of him.

Despite the grief of what he had lost, the excruciating physical pain and the challenges of daily life in a wheelchair, John decided he would become bigger and stronger than ever. He set about proving himself in the toughest sporting events the world had to offer. 

In 1995 John made history by becoming the first wheelchair athlete to finish the course at world's toughest multi-discipline sporting event – the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, drawing on all his inner strength to continue to the finish line after falling outside the able-bodied cut-off times in the bike section. The following year John narrowly missed the cut off time again, this time due to a flat tyre but proceeded to once again complete the entire course. 

In 1997 he not only finished within the able-bodied cut-off times, he beat a third of the field and became the first ever wheelchair category winner. In 2002 John became the first non-American inducted into the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon Hall of Fame. 

 

Despite the grief of what he had lost, the excruciating physical pain and the challenges of daily life in a wheelchair, John decided he would become bigger and stronger than ever. He set about proving himself in the toughest sporting events the world had to offer. 

 

Many more extraordinary sporting challenges followed, including becoming the first wheelchair athlete to swim the English Channel in 1998, and complete the gruelling Molokai Ocean challenge in 2005 (World Championships for open water paddling). He represented Australia at the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and in 2001 he sailed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. 

In 2006 he took part in the invitation-only extreme endurance event, the Ultraman World Championships, in Hawaii. Early in 2007, John was invited into the sport of rowing. In September 2007 he and his rowing partner claimed a silver medal at the Rowing World Championships, and followed up with GOLD at the International Regatta in Italy in April 2008. John won Rowing silver at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

 
 

Parallel to is sporting career, John sought to further focus his tremendous energy and determination on helping others, and established a charitable foundation in 1998. The John Maclean Foundation is now a national scale organisation providing support and assistance to Australian wheelchair users under the age of 18. 

 

The foundation's mission is to inspire, motivate and enable physically challenged kids to chase their dreams and live life to the fullest. Children, family’s and corporations across the globe find John's wisdom and inspiration invaluable in achieving focus and delivering potential. 

 


After 25 years as an incomplete paraplegic, John has taken his first steps towards achieving his dream to walk again, thanks to Ware's ‘WareK Health’ trigger process. Although the wheelchair remains John’s primary mode of movement, this dramatic and extraordinary development is allowing him to rediscover life.

 

John's personal mission statement is "ONLY POSSIBILITIES" and when he approached NeuroPhysics therapist, Ken Ware in April 2013, John was living by this mantra. After 25 years as an incomplete paraplegic, John has taken his first steps towards achieving his dream to walk again, thanks to Ware's ‘WareK Health’ trigger process.

 

Although the wheelchair remains John’s primary mode of movement, this dramatic and extraordinary development is allowing him to rediscover life. It’s a journey in progress and John continues treatment to further improve his mobility. 

 

 

In business and in life, we all face obstacles and crossroads. While my 25-year story seems like an extreme account of setbacks and facing up to them, the message is not about those obstacles, or how they got there, more about learning to see challenges, or adversity if you like, and welcoming it as a fuel to feed off. 

 

Any of the great people I have met have harnessed adversity and turned it into an energy that allows them to achieve so much more. All of us can do that, we simply have to make that choice. 

 

Achievements

2011

  • Bronze Medal - World Rowing Championship TA2X Division (partner Kathryn Ross)

  • Qualified for London 2012 Paralympic Games

2010

  • 1st Place, OC2 Outrigger Canoe World Championships, Kaiwi Channel, Molokai to Oahu Hawaii (partner Matt Beals)

2009

  • Waikiki Roughwater Swim, Hawaii (1st PC Athlete)

  • Ironman Western Australia 2009 Finisher

2008

  • Silver Medal, Beijing Paralympic Games – TA2X Adaptive Rowing

  • Gold Medal – Paralympic Test Event, Givarate, Italy – TA2X Adapative Rowing

2007

  • Australian Rowing Team for Rowing World Championships in Munich Germany

  • Silver Medal - World Rowing Championships TA2X Division (Partner Kathryn Ross)

2006

  • Ultraman World Championships

2005

  • Completed Molokai Challenge. (First Wheelchair athlete in the world

  • Ironman Western Australia (WR Team Time) 7Hrs 20 Minutes (Henk Vogels/Ky Hurst)

2004

  • National Handcycling Champion - Road Race and Time Trial

  • Ironman Western Australia, One Hour PB, 11hrs18min, 1st PC Athlete

  • English Channel Support Swimmer (David Knight)

2003

  • National Handcycling Champion - Road Race

  • Australian Representative at World Cycling Championships (Handcycling) Prague

2002

  • Inducted into the Hawaiian Ironman Hall of Fame

  • Completed Kilometres for Kids (2002 Km handcycle ride from Brisbane to Melbourne)

  • National Handcycling Champion (Time Trial and Road Race)

2001

  • Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (Grinder Team Aspect - 12th Overall and 2nd in division)

  • Awarded Australian Sports Medal

2000

  • Received Order of Australia (OAM)

  • Member of the Australian Olympic Team (Finalist 1500m Wheelchair Race)

  • Australian Paralympic Team (Competed in the 1500m, 5000m, 10000m and Marathon

1999

  • Selected as part of "Team 2000" train-on squad Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games

1998

  • First Wheelchair Athlete to successfully swim the English Channel

1997

  • First Wheelchair Athlete to complete all "able-bodied" cut off times at Hawaii Ironman

  • Crowned ITU World Triathlon Champion, Perth (Physically Challenged Category

1996

  • Crowned ITU World Triathlon Champion, Cleveland (Physically Challenged Category)

  • Hawaiian Ironman Finisher

1995

  • First Wheelchair Athlete to complete the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon

  • Australian Train-on squad - wheelchair basketball

1994

  • Completed Nepean Triathlon becoming Australia's first wheelchair triathlete

 

Buy a book

 

John's first book, Sucking the Marrow Out of Life (the title is a quote from the film Dead Poets Society which inspired John), is a first-person account of this extraordinary life. In his second book Full Circle: One Life, Many Lessons – John learned the hard way the important lessons in life, such as humility and persistence, self belief, team work, and inspiration and balance. In this book Full Circle he passes these valuable lessons on.