By: Malcolm Mayhew
Since its inception in the late 1970s, the IRONMAN triathlon has represented one of the most challenging and ambitious endurance racing events in the world. Competitors complete a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2 marathon distance run to earn the prestigious IRONMAN title. The closest official IRONMAN race takes place in April in The Woodlands, north of Houston. Now, however, Dallas-Fort Worth triathletes can experience the race much closer to home as Fort Worth launches its own independent Iron-distance triathlon on May 21.
The inaugural event is a joint venture between Trident Sports FW and the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. It’s the only long-distance course triathlon in Dallas-Fort Worth and one of only a few offered in Texas.
“I’ve done races like this for the past 13 years,” explains Tim Tarpley, race organizer and founder of Trident Sports FW. “And this event has been in the works for almost two years. There is a huge tri community here, and it makes no sense that there are so few events of this type taking place in Texas.”
Participants will complete either the full (140.6 mile) or half distance (70.3 mile) race, and there is a relay option available as well. The 140.6-miler begins at 6:45 a.m. with a one-loop swim at Marine Creek Lake, followed by a bike ride north past Decatur to Alvord, passing through Bridgeport, Boyd and Azle on the way to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Participants finish with a full marathon through downtown, the museum district and Trinity River trails. Shuttles will run between the lake and downtown for spectators.
“We’re estimating between 700 and 750 participants, which is perfect for our first year,” Tarpley says. “It’s a grassroots effort and beginner-friendly. Because we are an independent event and thanks to our great corporate partners, we can focus on making it a better experience for the athlete.”
The event is designed to be very spectator-friendly, with lots of options for those watching the race downtown, plus a VIP experience available for participants. Visit trifortworth.com to register for the race.
Advice from IRONMAN Finishers
“Do not fear or dread any part of the race. Live in the moment. Don't worry about the marathon while you're still on the swim. Focus on the immediate task at hand. Embrace the challenge and smile. You are doing something that 99.9999994 percent of the world will never do. You will remember this for the rest of your life, so make the memories good ones.”
- Cole Bryan, attorney and Kona IRONMAN World Championship finisher
“The best advice I can offer is to race your own race. Don't get caught up in what others are doing; focus on yourself. Your nutrition is just as important as all the time you put in swimming, biking and running. Your nutrition can make or break the race, so don't neglect it.”
- Liesel McAllister, Bicycle World, Southlake store director and IRONMAN Lake Tahoe and Coeur D’Alene finisher
“You can’t think about any trainings you’ve missed or what you could have done differently. Trust that your training and your heart will carry you to the finish line. Focus on the swim while you’re swimming, the bike while you’re cycling, but keep in mind that you still have 26.2 miles to run, so don’t try to push harder for a specific pace. It’s all about a steady pace to keep you moving in the forward direction. Most importantly, SMILE!”
- Misty Harris, Camp Gladiator partner trainer and IRONMAN Canada and Lake Tahoe finisher
“Your race day will not be hard if you did your training. It will just be a long day of training. Your top goal should be to just finish, but above all, take it all in. Celebrate the ups and appreciate the downs, take pleasure in all of the conversations and have fun!”
- Anthony Harris, co-founder of TAS Sports Group and IRONMAN Brazil and Texas finisher
By: Malcolm Mayhew