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Earning the Title of Ironman Triathlete

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Ironman. While that word may conjure up images of Ozzy Osbourne or a metallic superhero for some, for triathletes around the world, an Ironman is the ultimate achievement.
The Ironman is a race that consists of a 3.8 km swim, followed by a 180 km bike and finished off with a full marathon run of 42.2 km. Traditionally, this distance must be traversed in less than 17 hours. Those that finish the course have the privilege of designating themselves as Ironmen.
Former Swan River resident Maria Arlt – who now lives in The Pas – can remember Sept. 28 as the day she became an Ironman, during the Ironman Maryland event held in Cambridge, Md..
“I’ve been doing triathlons since 2013, but this was the first time I’ve done this distance,” said Arlt. “To prepare for this distance, I trained around 15-20 hours a week for six months.
“I’ve done other shorter distance triathlons and Half-Ironman distance races, so I wanted to see if I could handle this longer distance. I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.”
On the day of the race, Arlt experienced obstacles that she didn’t anticipate.
“The swim was very busy with people and there were jellyfish, so I got stung several times,” she said. Arlt finished the swim in 1:20:21, at an average pace of 2:05 per 100 metres.
After a 7:37 transition, the biking portion went well for her, with Arlt stating that discipline was her strongest. She finished the bike in 6:11:26 at an average pace of 29.2 kph.
A transition period of 12:02, she was set to traverse the remaining distance on foot.
“The run was tough in 30-degree heat, and that’s where I had to dig really deep,” said Arlt. “Being from the north, I wasn’t used to the heat and that was tough to deal with.
“The second half of the run was the toughest thing physically and mentally I’ve ever done. I found you just have to focus and keep moving forward. What got me through the day was thinking of all the hard work I had put into preparing and all the people cheering me on.”
Arlt finished the run portion in 6:02:42, at an average pace of 13:59 per mile.
Her total finish time was 13:54:07, placing 37th out of 78 in her age and gender category.
While she shows interest in doing another Ironman, she concedes that it won’t be this year as she needs to take some time to recover.
“(If anyone else wanted to do it), I would say you have to be committed to putting in some long days/weeks/months of training, but anyone could do this if you just have a positive mindset,” Arlt concluded.

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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