The ‘everyman’ Ironman: Find your people Photo Gallery

Ironman 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

ST GEORGE — Besides the profesionnal triathletes, the Ironman 70.3 St. George attracts and challenges and uplifts thousands of “regular man” type people, each of whom have a story to tell – some race to overcome personal obstacles, some race in remembrance of another, some race for the fun of it and some for fitness. Whatever the motivation, they are to be applauded.

B.J. Christenson from North Salt Lake was the first Ironman 70.3 competitor from Utah to finish with a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes, 55 seconds.  Christenson was followed by Utah’s first female finisher, Katy Carigiulo from Cottonwood Heights, who crossed the finish line at 4:47:34.

Washington County’s top finisher was Jason Sjo from Hurricane at 4:42:56. The top female athlete from the county was Megan Andersen of Santa Clara who finished at 5:24:46.

A total of 1,024 athletes from Utah registered for the race, three of those from St. George shared their stories:

Hyrum Laturner, 41, of St. George, has competed in five or six previous Ironman triathlons. He trains year-round, including an off-season and a tapering of intensity about two weeks before a race. Laturner watched his brother compete but didn’t get involved with endurance sports for the most part due to a fear of water.

Ironman 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Ironman 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

“When I was 8-years-old my friends and I were playing at the pool. A kid jumped in that didn’t know how to swim and grabbed me around my neck and pulled me under,” Laturner said. “Luckily my brother came around and pulled me out with a hook.”

After he and his wife moved to St. George, Laturner signed up for the Ironman about a year in advance. Within that year he completed an Olympic distance. He said that he never even considered doing a duathlon —which is a race with just biking and running— because an Ironman forced him to face his fear of water.

“The hardest thing was learning to swim,” Laturner said. “I think I just blew bubbles for the first few times. Sometimes I still have to take deep breaths before I get in the water. But it’s gotten easier. The times that I’m paralyzed by water get fewer and fewer.”

The longer length races aren’t as popular as the shorter distance races because, in a lot of cases, people compete to set a personal record – which is unfortunate, Laturner said. The Ironman should be about discovering one’s personal limitations.

“The people who come in last are more courageous because they are out there all day. With a short sprint you get extreme pain for a short time, while a longer distance is like Chinese water torture because it’s a slow pain that keeps worsening.”

Laturner hadn’t run for two or three months due to a hip injury, the Ironman 70.3 Saturday was his first time getting his running legs back underneath him.

“By mile 3 I was still running and not feeling too bad,” Laturner said. “It’s all about pace. You don’t want to burn too many matches too quick.”

Ironman 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Ironman 70.3 St. George. St. George, Utah, May 3, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

For Mark Larson, 31, of St. George, while he has been cycling for about four years, Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 was his first competitive race ever. The swim was the most difficult part for him.

“It was a great experience. I finished a little faster than I expected,” Larson said.

What drew Larson forward and across the finish line was the people standing on the sides of the road throughout the course.

“It was nice to see so many locals out there cheering every couple miles,” Larson said. “I would get drug down for a minute and then there was the crowd again. It definitely kept me going.”

The final incline was a struggle for many and Larson was no exception. There’s another roller and then it’s all downhill, he said. It felt great crossing the finish line.

Amber Sheffield, 35, of St. George, competed with her husband and their friend as a three-person-relay team. Amber Sheffield swam, her husband Travis Sheffield bicycled, and their friend Amber Blair ran. This is Amber Sheffield’s second relay Ironman this month. They competed in a different Ironman relay at a different location just a few weeks ago.

“You go through a stream of emotions when you’re out on the course,” Amber Sheffield said. “First you’re elated, then you’re just coping, and then you get angry and doubt yourself. And then you’re elated again.”

Everyone has their own thing they are completing the race for, she said. Hers was for “the car sticker. It’s a confirmation of what you’ve done.”

Ironman draws the everyman as well as the professional athletes. Please enjoy our photo gallery and chances are you’ll see a few if not many faces you know, worth the shout out, worth the cheer.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

UPDATED May 4 to include state and local stats.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

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