An Iowa adventurer who made international headlines earlier this year as the first person to complete an 8,000-mile “World Triathlon” will speak at Wartburg College Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Charlie Wittmack of Des Moines will share his inspirational experiences with Wartburg staff members and interested members of the public at 1 p.m. The free presentation, entitled “Committed to the Core: Stories from the World Tri,” will be in the Heritage and St. Elizabeth rooms on the second floor of Saemann Student Center.

On July 1, 2010, Wittmack stepped into the shallow waters at the source of the River Thames in rural England and started to swim. His goal was to swim, bike and run halfway around the world, ending with a climb to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Wittmack crossed 11 countries in Europe and Asia, including some of the most rugged mountains and treacherous deserts in the world. He endured amoebic dysentery, pulmonary and cerebral edema and was hit by a car while cycling across Kazakhstan.

Ten months after setting out, Wittmack climbed to the summit of Everest, also becoming the first American to complete the “Peak and Pond,” a rare sports double comprised of swimming the English Channel and climbing Mt. Everest.

Wittmack, a practicing attorney, will share tales of his journey and the people who supported him along the way. His presentation will relate his experiences to a broader theme of turning dreams to reality by overcoming fear and embracing adventure.

Now in his mid-30s, Wittmack has been organizing major expeditions for almost 20 years. In 2010, he was elected as a Fellow National in the Explorers Club, an international society headquartered in New York City and dedicated to the advancement of field research and the importance of preserving the instinct to explore. He is also a member of the Royal Geographic Society in London.

ESPN coverage of Wittmack’s World Triathlon adventure is available online at