by Josh Amberger
Ed. Note—Wattie Ink. professional Josh Amberger quietly solidified his Kona qualification last month by taking 5th place at the ultra-competitive Ironman Frankfurt, only a few months removed his podium at Ironman South Africa. The 70.3 killer has turned into a bona fide Ironman threat, and is looking to improve on his Kona finish from last year. We launch his Camo Chaos kit today, which he had a huge hand in bringing to fruition, so we checked in about the design and—in particular—what those three Latin words mean splashed across the shoulderblades.
"Non ducor duco." It's Latin for "I am not led, I lead."
Last year before Kona, Wattie asked me if I had any mottos or mantras that I’d like to rock on my race suit, and I knew instantly that this was the one. It is the album title of an Italian metal band that I listened to eight or nine years ago, and obviously borrows from ideas much older than that. It was mostly the words that pulled me in and not necessarily the music I was hearing. I was intrigued. A quick Internet search revealed "I am not led, I lead." I was smitten with the idea and felt as if it gave meaning to much of my attitude at that point as an adolescent, and still now as a professional triathlete. I raced Kona last year with this text proudly emblazoned on my back, and here it is today on my signature edition suit: Camo Chaos.
Naturally, some will associate this meaning with my racing style: fearless, charging hard off the front from the gun, racing against all odds to be the first across the line. Case in point: my recent attempt to squash Jan Frodeno & Patrick Lange during the swim and bike on their home turf at Ironman Frankfurt. Ultimately it was futile as I got beat pretty bad on the run, but it was by no means in vain. It was a statement to say I’m here and am not afraid to race true to my character and true to my preparation. I wake up each day and train to win races, and I feel the most glory in winning with only the most honest effort from start to finish.
Racing is only one thing in life; my character is where I mostly hope to apply this manta. To me, non ducor duco means I will not let myself be defined by others. I will write my own story and I will pursue my own dreams. I won’t let my being or opinions be formed or influenced by others, and I will not be deterred by those who don’t share the same faith or importance in such things as I do. I will respect others, but respect my own realization as equally important, and I will continue to live life without fear of other people’s judgements.
I am by no means a leader, but I lead my own life and that’s what is most important to me. Don’t let others tell you what you want to know, or let others define you. Seek and lead your own being. That’s my best advice, and that’s what I want you to feel when you wear this mantra on your back.