For a man in a carrot suit, Jordan Maddocks couldn’t be more patient or accommodating.
Since the Deseret News wasn’t there a month ago at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix to see him set a vegetable world record by running 26.2 miles dressed as a carrot, Jordan agreed to don the costume. and replicate the heel-clicking kick he performed when he crossed the finish line.
Photographer Kristin Murphy wants to get it right, which means a few shots, then more shots on a snowy dirt road behind the business he and his wife, JessaKae, own in Lehi. Jordan is puzzled. Imagine a cocker spaniel in a carrot suit. Want another one? No problem. He’s not even breathing heavily. He could do this all day.
All of this suits a man who has certainly taken his time getting there.
At an age when many athletes are seriously considering retirement — Jordan is 35 — he’s never been quicker, or quicker, or had more energy, or had bolder goals.
When Kristin tells him she has the photo she wanted, he almost looks disappointed.
If you’re looking for a story about how it’s never too late to up your game, consider this one: For 12 straight years, Jordan Maddocks ran marathons and never broke the four-hour barrier .
Now he is aiming for the Olympic trials.
“It’s amazing what the human body is capable of taking on and doing,” he says. After more than a decade of running, “I found a part of me that was always there but just wasn’t activated.”
For years, since he ran his first marathon in 41⁄2 hours when he was 19, Jordan was content to stay in the peloton. He loved how running made him feel and credited it for changing his life. After spending, or ill-spent, his teenage years with too much drug addiction — he didn’t go out for the cross-country or track teams in high school — running became his drug of choice.
“Running has become my release, my therapy. I just don’t know what my life would be like without it,” he says. “I owe so much to running, for what it has done for me and what it has taken me away from.”
Once he started running long distances, he always had goals. After that first marathon, he set a goal of completing a circuit of six marathons in a calendar year, earning a Superman silver medal which he shows to this day.
Once that was ticked off, he decided to complete a full Ironman triathlon, adding a 112 mile bike ride and 2 ½ mile swim to the marathon.
He also crossed that off his list. But if he was in much better shape, he was not yet very fast. After dozens of marathons, his best time is 4:02.
In 2016, he decided to set another goal: to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In his age group, the qualifying time was three hours.
This meant he had to knock an hour and two minutes off his personal best; AKA an eternity.
He knew he needed help. He asked legendary ultrarunner Tommy Rivers Puzey, the toughest and fastest runner he’s ever known, if he would train him. Puzey said yes, on one condition: that he would never skip a workout.
Jordan agreed and suddenly found himself in a very different world. It was introduced to the “next level of tough”.
“It didn’t come all at once, it was stages, bit by bit,” he says. “I had to pretend until I could do it. But I couldn’t believe what was happening.
What was happening was that the minutes were disappearing. He broke the four hour barrier, he broke the three and a half hour barrier. Then, for the 2018 Mount Charleston Marathon in Las Vegas, he looked up at the finish line to see 2:49 on the clock. He had qualified for Boston with an 11-minute lead. At the 2019 Boston Marathon, on a tough course filled with elite runners, he broke the three-hour barrier again, finishing in 2:59.
This all leads to the Carrot Suit – and before that, the Banana Suit.
Throughout his marathon odyssey, the highlight has always been the Phoenix Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. He has never lacked since he ran his first marathon there in 2006. In 2019, a friend of his, Todd Chiniquy, had just undergone a lung transplant. As a tribute to Todd, always a party person, Jordan decided a banana suit was an appropriate salute.
He ran 2:47 like a banana and loved it so much he ran like a banana again in 2020, this time 2:41 (both were faster than the Guinness World Record for a banana marathon, but were not properly documented).
Last month, for Rock ‘n’ Roll 2022, he switched to the carrot suit “because I wanted to do a different food band.”
And because he had a new cause to support: the Release Recovery Foundation, an organization that helps people struggling with addiction and mental illness, especially those who can’t afford treatment. Jordan donated the $5,000 he received from his sponsor, Green Giant, to the foundation.
He also went through all the hoops required by Guiness and last week he was told that his time of 2:44 officially made him the fastest vegetable in history.
And now: the 2024 Olympic trials are on his horizon.
Jordan is aware that running for the United States at the Paris Olympics is unrealistic – he would need to finish in the top three to make the Games – but to be one of the top 150 or so marathon runners in the country who qualify for the trials, that’s something to aim for.
The qualifying time is 2h17. This means that over the next two years, he must somehow, somehow, cut his fastest outdoor marathon of 2:33 by 16 minutes. He has a nutritionist, a Pilates trainer, a team of orthopedic doctors and a new running coach, Isaac Wood (Tommy Rivers Puzey fights cancer), to help him see if he can do it.
“I will be almost 38 for the trials. I hope my body will hold out,” he says, “but I’m willing to chop wood and haul water and do it every day.
The carrot costume? He will probably give it up if he succeeds. Again, maybe not. The unconventional road has taken him this far, it could take him all the way.