Raleigh, N.C. — More than 2,000 athletes from across the country endured a grueling race in the Triangle Sunday at the Ironman Triathlon, which began at Jordan Lake and ended 70.3 miles later in downtown Raleigh.
The runners were fit but no matter their body mass index, the race was a punishing test. Terrace Lejeune of Raleigh was waiting for her husband to come huffing by on Fayetteville Street.
“He loves the challenge of it. He’s always been an endurance athlete. He kind of got bored doing marathons,” Lejeune said.
The Ironman Triathlon includes more than 1 mile of swimming, 56 miles of biking and 13.1 miles of running.
Jonathan Fecik of Connecticut runs the killer races for a living. With award money and sponsorships, along with a coaching job, he can avoid the rat race.
“I do it professionally because I love it. It’s a lifestyle,” Fecik said. “I get fit and ride my bike and swim and run while everybody else is doing their nine to five job.”
Fecik’s wife, Amber, who has a nine to five job, travels the country with him.
“You have people who are overweight who are doing these. You have people who are 81 years old who are running these and just killing it,” she said.
Jim Meyers, 56, of Pittsburgh said he would rather be competing in the Ironman Triathlon than spending his Sunday on the golf course.
“You’re out there, what, three or four hours? You’re riding in a card, you’re having a beer. Where’s the exercise? Where’s the health? This is the new golf,” Meyers said.
Tyler Butterfield of Bermuda won the race, finishing in 3 hours and 53 minutes. Stephanie Roy won it for the women, finishing in 4 hours and 20 minutes.