RALEIGH: 3,000 participate in Ironman 70.3 competition - WSPA.com

3,000 participate in Raleigh Ironman 70.3 competition

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Ryan Bates (left) and Michael Starkey (right) finish the Ironman 70.3 race in City Plaza. (Shumuriel Ratliff, WNCN) Ryan Bates (left) and Michael Starkey (right) finish the Ironman 70.3 race in City Plaza. (Shumuriel Ratliff, WNCN)
Paul Ambrose takes a drink of water after crossing the finish line of the Ironman 70.3 race. (Shumuriel Ratliff, WNCN) Paul Ambrose takes a drink of water after crossing the finish line of the Ironman 70.3 race. (Shumuriel Ratliff, WNCN)
Spectators watch and take photos as some of the first athletes finish the Ironman 70.3 race. (Shumuriel Ratliff, WNCN) Spectators watch and take photos as some of the first athletes finish the Ironman 70.3 race. (Shumuriel Ratliff, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

For the second year, the Ironman 70.3 competition was in the City of Oaks Sunday.

Nearly 3,000 people registered for the triathlon, which saw participants swimming for 1.2 miles in Jordan Lake, riding bicycles for 56 miles from rural Chatham into Wake County, and running 13.1 miles around North Carolina State University and downtown Raleigh. The race finished in City Plaza.

"It's hard," explained Ironman race director Brian Myrick. "People put it on their list as something they just want to check off."

A pro triathlon athlete will finish the race in less than 4 hours, while the final finishers will take about 8 hours, all the while bystanders stood and cheer each and every one of them one.

"I just wanted to come down and support everyone here," Wanda Hosier said. "It's really motivational, and it's just exciting to see the amount of work they put into it."

That hard work paid off for Virginia Beach's Matt Chrabot, who finished the race in 3:52:07. He said when you compete in a race as big as the Ironman, the key to finishing is to pace yourself.

"You don't want to start dehydrated, so you do the best you can to get your fluids up without overdoing it, because it's also possible to drink too much," he advised. "Stay cool; wear a visor; if you can, try and run in the shade -- even if it's a little bit it makes a difference."

For Mark Turner, of Houston, Texas, the race provided the motivation he needed to shed nearly 100 pounds. He finished the race in 6:25:01.

"It's a very encouraging community," Turner said. "That's one of the things I've found is a lot of people come in to the triathlon looking to improve their lives."

In 2007, Turner weighed 250 pounds. Training for triathlons helped him lose the weight he needed to live a healthy lifestyle.

"I did my first full Ironman last year at 51 and just caught the fever and love it," Turner said.

This year's race offers 50 qualifying slots to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Ironman has an agreement to have one more race in Raleigh next year. But with 400 more people registering this year than last year, organizers hope to extend that for many years to come.

"It was unbelievable, Myrick said. "Everybody loved this city."

WNCN reporter Beau Minnick contributed to this report.

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Copyright WNCN 2014. All rights reserved.

Shumuriel Ratliff

Shumuriel, a North Carolina native, is thrilled to be back in the Tar Heel state as a general assignment reporter for WNCN.
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