WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Over 2,700 people signed up to compete in the Ironman race on Saturday, the first one since the pandemic.
The race started at 7 a.m. with a 1.2 mile swim across the intracoastal waterway. From there, the competitors grabbed a bike and rode 56 miles up to Pender County and back. The race was finished with a 13 mile run ending in downtown Wilmington.
Lenny Simon, who competed in the race, says it was people’s encouragement that kept him going.
“The people on the side cheering everybody on with the cowbells, they give you a high-five, they ring it even louder, you know, it’s just a great event,” says Simon.
The event takes months of planning for it to occur, from race routes, roadblocks, equipment, and involving multiple first responding agencies.
“Well, of course when it got cancelled in 2020, I’m gonna say we started immediately for 2021. Rebooking dates, rebooking all of our vendors, making sure law enforcement knew. So it has been well over a year in the planning,” says Race Director Sami Winter.
After swimming, biking, and finally running across the finish line, the tri-athletes were both tired and happy to be racing again.
“I always say that this is the final exam. You study, study, study, this is the final, and you try to ace the final,” says Simon.
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.