An Ironman Triathlon is a long-distance race consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride, and a marathon 26.2 mile run, raced in that order and without a break. It’s no small feat, but the satisfaction of completing the challenge is probably best summed up by one of the registered trademarks: “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life.”
At the Y, we’ve combined the ideals of the Ironman and combined it with the Y mentality to create the Iron Athlete Challenge, a six-week program in which participants (registered as individuals or teams of up to three people) must complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2 mile run. Past participants acknowledge that these activities—not to mention the distances—can be intimidating, to say the least. But those who have completed the challenge get a sense of personal satisfaction—and bragging rights—by pushing themselves far beyond their limits.
One of last year’s participants reflects, “I am not at all proud to say that I don’t swim, but the rowing option made the event something I could do. … I’m not a big fan of biking, but by using the Virtual Active portion of the Matrix equipment, I was able to go to a ‘happy place’ while biking and got to explore Hollywood, the Alps, and parts of Australia.” This participant enjoyed the running challenge most: “The running was the most fun aspect and I got to do my runs and walks while I was on vacation. Each day I picked a new route and I got my exercise while enjoying my morning walks and jogs.”
Part of what makes this challenge fun is that it gives you the opportunity to try something new. That being said, if you are uncomfortable with swimming or running, you can replace those miles with other activities. (For a full list of allowed substitutions, see the equivalence chart, available in a binder at the front desk; this will also be emailed to all participants after registration ends on February 28.)
To achieve the 2.4 mile swim, participants may attend a water exercise class, swim, attend a land fitness class, or use cardio machines.
To achieve the 112 mile bicycle ride, participants can bike indoors or outdoors or attend a spin class.
To achieve the 26.2 mile run, participants can run outside or on the treadmill; attend a land fitness class: use the elliptical, rower, AMT; or walk.
Karilee Crabtree and her husband (pictured below on the day they finished the Iron Athlete Challenge last year) completed the challenge “as part of our goal to get fit.” The Crabtrees finished early and completed the entire challenge in just four workout sessions. Karilee remembers that when the competition began, “I was over 250 pounds and as of August my physical showed I was under 250 by a long shot.” More importantly, she has continued to exercise since completing the challenge last year: “When working out [I still] bike first, then run, and swim one mile every time.” She goes on, “We loved the competition and would recommend everyone to try it.”