It takes a lot of training, hard work and dedication to compete in a triathlon. Many athletes help one another prepare for these events by training together.
Forty members of the Lynchburg area based Iron Gate Triathlon Club have been gearing up to compete in the June 2 Ironman 70.3 Raleigh.
Club members enjoy the close camaraderie shared by many athletes. Early morning and late afternoon swims at Ivy Lake, 30-mile bike rides and long runs are squeezed in between work and family obligations for many Iron Gate club members.
The Ironman 70.3 Raleigh starts with a 1.2 mile swim at Jordan Lake followed by a 56-mile bike ride through Chatham County, Wake County and Raleigh and ends with a 13.1 mile run in downtown Raleigh.
Athletes will run past the NC State campus, the Capital Building, Hillsborough Street, Meredith College and the NC Art Museum before finishing at City Plaza.
Why does anyone decide to compete in such a grueling event? The reasons are as varied as the members of the club.
Susan Anderson says, “I had never been interested in competing in a marathon, much less an Ironman event. I completed two marathons within three weeks last fall, which gave me the confidence to sign up for the Raleigh 70.3.”
Anderson often competes in running events as part of the United Athletics Lynchburg Team Trinity, powering Trinity, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident as a toddler.
You’ll often find Anderson training with her friend and fellow club member Leslie Hoglund, who powers her son Joel as part of Team Joel in area races.
Hoglund will be racing for a charity near and dear to her heart, RODS Racing, an organization that assists in the adoption of orphans with Down syndrome.
Hogland says, “Being an adoptive parent of two children with Down syndrome, this is a great way to give back to the generosity that was given to my family. I love that I can combine my passion of health and fitness with a cause very close to my heart.”
Club member Erin Elwell shares, “After 30 + years of being sedentary and eating junk, I was overweight. Now I am a healthy role model for my kids.”
Elwell’s children, ages seven and 10, have already competed in duathlons and triathlons. Elwell says her kids see their mom eating well and exercising and they do the same.
Sarah Davidson says, “My biggest sense of accomplishment is when my three girls think I am the strongest person they know. When they want to do triathlons to be like me. When my 13-year-old has ‘do an Ironman’ on her bucket list.”
Teamwork is key to training for many members of the Iron Gate Triathlon Club. Ula Kauppi says, “I know I can do it. I am lucky to have my friend and open water swim coach, Sarah Dunstan, sticking with me! It helped so much.”
Club member Steve Bozeman is a well-known face around Lynchburg. Bozeman, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, has organized “Supporting Our Troops” events at Monument Terrace every Friday for over 11 years.
Bozeman has also been a runner for many years and has been honored to carry the American flag with the Virginia 10 Miler Running Color Guard in Lynchburg’s premier running event.
Club member Carol Carr has hosted her fellow members for many 30 mile rides through the countryside in rural Campbell County, where she lives.
Carr has lived a healthy lifestyle for many years and helps others by her mentoring. When Carr participated in her first triathlon, she loved it and has competed in many triathlons since.
The club members who will travel to Raleigh next week will enjoy a few more training events before they hit the road.
Some Iron Gate Triathlon Club members will compete in the Memorial Day 10 K on Monday in Lynchburg, starting at 8 a.m. at Riverfront Festival Park.
A special thanks to Susan Anderson and Leslie Hoglund for sharing the story of the Iron Gate Triathlon Club and pulling together so many of the details in this article.
Best wishes to all of these athletes, who will represent the Lynchburg area well in the Ironman 70.3 Raleigh on June 2.