John MacLean

Keynote Speaker

After being hit by an 8-tonne truck, John MacLean was paralyzed from the waist down, but refused to let this stop him from leading a life of high achievement.

He is the first wheelchair athlete to finish the Ironman World Championship, be inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame, and swim the English Channel.

Founder of the John MacLean Foundation, he has dedicated nearly three decades to helping children and adults in wheelchairs harness their abilities and achieve their dreams.

25 years after his accident, he is learning to walk again thanks to his unwavering strength and a ground breaking method of physical therapy called the WareK Tremor.

Based in Sydney

About

After being hit by an 8-tonne truck, John MacLean was paralyzed from the waist down, but refused to let this stop him from leading a life of high achievement.

He is the first wheelchair athlete to finish the Ironman World Championship, be inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame, and swim the English Channel.

Founder of the John MacLean Foundation, he has dedicated nearly three decades to helping children and adults in wheelchairs harness their abilities and achieve their dreams.

25 years after his accident, he is learning to walk again thanks to his unwavering strength and a ground breaking method of physical therapy called the WareK Tremor.

​During fitness training near his hometown in June 1988, John 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 MacLean 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. 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. He was 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).

​John MacLean 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 In 2007, John 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.

​In 1998 he established The John Maclean Foundation , now a national organisation providing support and assistance to Australian wheelchair users under the age of 18.

​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.

An incomplete paraplegic, with some movement and feeling in his left leg, John was always able to support his weight, on crutches, for short periods of time, and although the wheelchair remains John’s primary mode of movement, this dramatic and extraordinary development is allowing him to rediscover life, walking short distances unassisted.

​John’s life is a journey in progress, and John continues to set and achieve extraordinary goals as he further improves his mobility.

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