North Idaho

Triumphant Ironman finish for Coeur d'Alene cancer survivor

Triumphant Ironman finish for Coeur d'Alene cancer survivor

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Ironman took over Coeur d'Alene again this weekend.

It's the 12th year the Lake City hosted the grueling triathlon.

"Being a hometown boy, you see so many people you know," Ironman competitor Derek Garcia said.

Garcia is the shining example of a local boy done good. The Coeur d'Alene High School grad finished 7th in yesterday's Ironman. He was the top of the local athletes.

But Garcia's story isn't about Sunday's finish, it's about the journey to this point.

He competed in his first Ironman in 2008. After four years, he went from an Ironman amateur to a pro. He was at the top of his career and then tragedy struck.

"You hear cancer and you think terminal right away, it's something very scary. It was a shock because I thought I was in the best shape I could ever be in," Garcia said.

He was just 27 and battling testicular cancer, but the disease wasn't about to slow him down.

Six months after being diagnosed, he competed in another Ironman and hasn't stopped since.

"Yesterday was 15," he said.

Garcia's determination is remarkable. Even after his Top 10 finish yesterday, he is always pushing himself to be better.

"I don't really look at it like I am happy with placing 7th but I am happy with the effort I gave" Garcia said.

He plans to compete in Ironman Lake Tahoe in September.