Local News

Athletes brave heat to compete in Raleigh Ironman race

Posted June 5, 2016 4:53 p.m. EDT
Updated June 5, 2016 6:54 p.m. EDT

— More than 2,200 athletes from around the world swam, biked and ran through the Triangle Sunday for the annual Ironman triathlon.

For the fourth year, the Ironman 70.3 came to Raleigh, bringing athletes ranging in age from 18 to 80. Along Wilmington Street, as cyclists breezed by, 5-year-old Bruna Damato and her 2-year-old brother, Felipe, were waiting for their dad to pass by. She and her family came from Miami to watch her father compete in the race.

“He’s going to get a shiny medal,” Damato said.

By time Damato’s father, Louis Damato, crossed the finish line, he had swam more than a mile, biked 56 hilly miles, and ran a half marathon. Sunday’s winner, Matt Russell of Colorado, completed the feat in three hours and 52 minutes.

“It’s hard to run with the high humidity and the heat, but it was definitely an honest course,” Russell said.

Justin Park, a University of North Carolina graduate who lives near Atlanta, came in fourth. He said that in all the bodily pain that comes with running a triathlon, he finds joy.

“[It’s] a strange, special feeling, I think,” he said. “I was in damage control from about mile three on and I was continuing to talk to myself, saying ‘if you stop, you’ll never start again’.”

Lauren Barnett of Kansas City tore through the finish line winning the women’s race.

“I’m so overwhelmed right now, like I can’t hold it together,” she said.

Athletes came from 24 countries to compete in the Ironman Raleigh triathlon. The race has a $50,000 prize that’s split among the top finishers.