THE WOODLANDS - Roughly a thousand triathletes have gathered in The Woodlands for IRONMAN Texas.
The 140.6-mile triathlon is scheduled to start Saturday morning. The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run.
"I’m looking forward to it," said Tim Nielsen. "It’s always a little stressful until you get started. Once you’re in it, you’re in it."
Athletes have 17 hours to complete the grueling challenge.
"It’s at least 2 full days at the office," said Dave Ragsdale from IRONMAN. "Three for some people."
The Woodlands race was originally scheduled for April of 2020. However, because of COVID-19 cancellations, IRONMAN Texas was delayed 3 times. As a result, many athletes spent the better part of 2 years training for Saturday.
"Never in a million years do you think [racing] will get taken away from you for a couple of years," said Dan Don Levie. "To have that ability to come back and race with everyone, it just doesn’t get any better than that."
"I signed up originally in April of 2019," said Danny Boyle. "We’ve had 3 deferrals. This is the 4th time around. I’m ready to get it done."
Participants as young as 18 and as old as 80 will be competing Saturday. At least one of the competitors, Nancy Goodnight, has completed every IRONMAN Texas in The Woodlands.
"For this one, I’m really just trying to get through the finish line," said Goodnight.
Goodnight says she’s scheduled to finish IRONMAN Texas on Saturday, and then compete in the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Goodnight spent much of the year recovering from a bike crash. She says the crash caused her to lose consciousness and required several surgeries. Saturday’s race will be a major milestone for her.
"Just to be able to still be strong enough, and be back to where I think I can finish [an IRONMAN], I might cry a little," said Goodnight.