Coree Aussem-Woltering has made history on World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji.
The 29-year-old ultrarunner is a part of Team Onyx, the first all-Black adventure team to compete not just in the Eco-Challenge series, but on the global stage.
Revived by Amazon Prime Video and hosted by Bear Grylls, the show, which premiered Friday, follows a grueling trek across Fiji's mountains and waters that requires biking, boating, rafting, climbing, and other outdoor adventure skills.
The northern Illinois native — he lives in Ottawa with his husband — was recruited to Team Onyx through Instagram by its captain, Clifton Lyle. His nickname on the team is "The Runner," and he boasts an impressive résumé that includes winning the Superior Spring 50k 2019 and finishing the Ironman 70.3 World Championship twice.
As a Black gay man, Aussem-Woltering hopes his platform on Eco-Challenge inspires other members of marginalized communities to get active.
"To me, I think it is very important to represent the Black LGBTQ+ community, because we are a very underrepresented group in the sport," Aussem-Woltering told The Advocate. "I was honored to race on Team Onyx, the first all African-American team to race an Eco-Challenge, as it shows there are Black and LGBTQ+ people that love outdoor and adventure sports.
"I didn’t know racing an Eco-Challenge was a dream of mine until Clifton found me on Instagram. I now hope that other Black and LGBTQ+ people will see this and be inspired to get outdoors and be active."
In addition to his speed, Aussem-Woltering has also garnered fans for his athletic attire: He often competes in a Speedo. "I tend to think that I'm kind of a shy person. Yet when you see me racing, I definitely like to be noticed," he explained on Eco-Challenge.
In fact, he "brought a Speedo for every day of this challenge, because what would not make someone smile other than some random Black dude running around in the woods in a Speedo. And I just make it happen."
Aussem-Woltering shared the origin story of his love for the tight swimming trunks with The Advocate: "In 2016 I was in ... Florida for a 50km race and realized I forgot my racing shorts. So I wore a Speedo and crop top, won the race, and it was spread all over social media. And that’s the day 'Speedo Man' was born."
Team Onyx, comprising gay and straight athletes, also includes Sam Scipio, Chriss Smith Jr., and Mikayla Lyles. Cheer them on by watching World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji on Prime TV.
Watch the trailer below.