IRONMAN athletes begin final preparations for Sunday’s race

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho —IRONMAN weekend kicked off in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday afternoon, where more than 2,000 athletes are expected to jump into the water Sunday morning and attempt to finish the more than 140-mile journey.

For some, it’s their first time, but for others the grueling race is like an old friend. Imagine doing this, swimming for almost two-and-a-half miles, then riding a bike for a 112 miles and capping it off with a full marathon. For thousands of people this weekend, they’ll get their shot at conquering that challenge and those 4 News Now spoke to, say they’re ready.

“Training is done I know it’s going to be hot, we’re just going to take our time and hopefully finish,” said Brad Taylor a former Spokane native and WSU graduate who now lives in Las Vegas.

For Taylor, slow and steady might be the key to finishing his first full IRONMAN on Sunday.

“It’s just a goal. I have a lot of friends that have done it and I thought, well, I can see if I can push myself to those limits and do it,” said Taylor.

Those triple digit temperatures add an extra layer of difficulty for athletes already pushing themselves to the limit.

“We’ve scaled up quite a bit on our ice supplies, water supplies, other cooling techniques like misting stations. So we’re really ready, it’s something we do all over the country and all over the world and something we’re very experienced in,” said Dave Christen the regional director at IRONMAN.

For others, this isn’t their first rodeo. Some have finished the race dozens of times so far.

“I think I just really love having a goal to work towards and I’ve been an athlete my whole life. So, I just love being able to keep trying to get better at something and pursuing a goal,” said Jessica Hauschulz, who is competing in her sixth IRONMAN.

As Hauschulz puts it, getting to the finish line is just the icing on the cake.

“It’s just an immense sense of accomplishment and really celebration,” said Hauschulz.

“Long journey, end of a long journey and we’ll see if we do anymore,” added Taylor.

The competitors will have 17 hours each to complete the course and the first racers will begin at 5 a.m. on Sunday with the swimming portion first.