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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

 

Online workshop for personal development – Inspired by John’s Story

The first workshop in our self-development series is now available for purchase. Now you can now work with John from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace.

Inspired by John himself, the first module (Momentum and Disruption) gives you the opportunity to establish or re-establish your personal goals, hear more of John’s story and use his journey as your own motivator to help map your own path in life.

Register or login below

$49.99

 

Buy John's latest book

How Far Can You Go? My 25-year quest to walk again

Walking on the beach while holding a loved one’s hand is a simple wish realized by many and taken for granted by most, but after John Maclean was struck by an eight-ton truck while training for a triathlon at the age of twenty-two, this wish became an impossibility.

After 25 years in a wheelchair, John had become one of the most accomplished wheelchair athletes in the world: he was the first wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship, the first non-American inducted into the event’s Hall of Fame, and the first paraplegic to swim the English Channel.

He even competed in the Olympic wheelchair demonstration race and in two Paralympic Games in two different disciplines, winning a silver medal for rowing.

 And yet, John longed for one more victory: to walk on the beach with his wife holding her hand. In 2013 John began to access his full potential by retraining his mind and body, and, through intense focus and determination, stand, walk, and fulfil his dream.

How Far Can You Go? is his amazing story. It delves into not only the physical aspects of John’s journey, but also the mental fortitude to push through the impossible.

Available now in store and online.

AMERICAN EDITION

Click the image to purchase from amazon.com

Click the image to purchase from amazon.com

AUSTRALIAN EDITION

Includes postage & packing for deliveries within Australia.

Includes postage & packing for deliveries within Australia.

$35.00

 

Gallery

Little Athletics - age 9

Little Athletics - age 9

1195 Basketball train-on squad for Atlanta Paralympic Games 1996

1195 Basketball train-on squad for Atlanta Paralympic Games 1996

1995 training

1995 training

Water to bike transition Nepean Triathlon 1994

Water to bike transition Nepean Triathlon 1994

Nepean Triathlon 1994 finish

Nepean Triathlon 1994 finish

Hawaiian Ironman first attempt 1995

Hawaiian Ironman first attempt 1995

Hawaiian Ironman 1995 finish

Hawaiian Ironman 1995 finish

Hawaiian Ironman second attempt 1996

Hawaiian Ironman second attempt 1996

Hawaiian Ironman third and final attempt 1997

Hawaiian Ironman third and final attempt 1997

Hawaiian Ironman 1997 finish - first wheelchair athlete to complete the course within conventional cut- off times

Hawaiian Ironman 1997 finish - first wheelchair athlete to complete the course within conventional cut- off times

English Channel swim 1998

English Channel swim 1998

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games - wheelchair racing demonstration event

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games - wheelchair racing demonstration event

Sydney - Hobart 2001

Sydney - Hobart 2001

Kilometers For Kids 2002 – raised $400,000 to launch John Maclean Foundation nationally

Kilometers For Kids 2002 – raised $400,000 to launch John Maclean Foundation nationally

Training for Beijing 2007

Training for Beijing 2007

Beijing Paralympic games final

Beijing Paralympic games final

Silver medal

Silver medal

Wife Amanda and son Jack (5months) 2010

Wife Amanda and son Jack (5months) 2010

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First conventional bike in 26 years – 2014

First conventional bike in 26 years – 2014

Nepean Triathlon 2014 – bike section

Nepean Triathlon 2014 – bike section

Nepean Triathlon 2014 transition

Nepean Triathlon 2014 transition

Nepean Triathlon 2014 – 10 walk to finish

Nepean Triathlon 2014 – 10 walk to finish

500 meters to go – a boost from my son

500 meters to go – a boost from my son

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200 meters to go..........

200 meters to go..........

My mate Aaryan walking the last 100 meters with me

My mate Aaryan walking the last 100 meters with me

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Approaching the finish line for the Nepean Triathlon, completing my first conventional triathlon in 26 years

Approaching the finish line for the Nepean Triathlon, completing my first conventional triathlon in 26 years

 

Achievements

2014

  • Completed The Nepean Triathlon as a conventional athlete

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