IRONMAN returns to Coeur d’Alene

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — After more than two years, IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene returned.

The last time the area hosted the full triathlon was in 2017. More than 2,000 athletes from all over the world lined up, ready to conquer the 140-mile course.

As you can imagine, the conditions proved to a challenge pretty early on.

The competition kicked off at 5 a.m. this morning, and that earlier start time probably saved a lot of racers along the course due to sweltering conditions that cropped up early in the race.

The athletes got started with a feverish pace for the 2.4-mile swim into lake Coeur d’Alene, with the fastest times being well under an hour, and others taking more than 90 minutes to complete to journey back to land.

Whatever feeling of cool these athletes had quickly went away when the wetsuits came off and the sun came up.

And the impacts could be felt of the heat quickly became evident as athletes began to bow out before even the marathon section.

“You’re hopefully taking on a lot of water in the final 30 miles of the bike [ride] so your stomach can settle for the run, and staying hydrated and staying cool with water over your body,” said seven-time IRONMAN finisher Robbie Walker. “We saw one of the pros have a gallon jug of water and he just dumped the entire thing over his face and body and drank as much of it as he could.”

As if more than 115 miles after five hours wasn’t enough, the marathon portion going into the hottest part of the day tested even the top athletes. In fact, 25-year-old Sam Long shattered the men’s course record by six minutes, winning his second IRONMAN race.

The women’s pro champion, Australian competitor Carrie Lester, broke the course record by 17 minutes — and everyone else will have 17 hours to complete the triathlon.

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