He's the Lance Armstrong of East Texas--an amazing story of triumph over tragedy. At 49 years old, Chris Pearson has been picked to represent the United States in the short-course Duathlon Championship in Hungary this weekend.
He's competed in race after race for nearly 20 years and he's got the trophies, plaques, and medals to prove it. But now, Chris Pearson is gearing up for the race of a lifetime.
"This is really the epitome of my racing career up to this point," he says.
He's flying out Tuesday morning to Hungary, as part of team USA, competing for his first time at the world-level in a Duathlon, that's a 6 mile run, 25 mile bike, and then another 3 mile run.
"I guess it would be the closest I would ever come to being in the Olympics, to represent your country and to wear the colors, it's a honor," Chris adds.
But doctors says it's amazing Chris is even alive to compete. That's because almost six years ago, right before 9/11, he was hit by a pickup truck while training on his bike. He went into a four-day coma.
"I lost a kidney, lost my left lower lobe of my lung, broke nine ribs, ruptured my spleen, broke my hip, broke my shoulder, but thank the Lord I didn't hurt my legs so I could continue to run when I finished," he explains.
His wife Tammy adds, "he was unrecognizable and it was pretty scary, but he came through it and came back stronger than ever."
And Chris says it's his passion that ultimately saved his life.
"The doctor came in and said 'what are you doing to stay in shape' and I told him and he said 'well that's what got you through this.'"
So whether it's competing in a Duathlon or the race of life, Chris is clearly a winner.
He'll face the world's best on Sunday. Chris is competing with about 50 men in his age group, from 12 different countries.