After a 2.4-mile swim in the Ohio River and 112-mile bike ride, Baxter knew he just had 20 miles to go.
“It becomes a test of wills,” said the 48-year-old attorney. “It’s just really about proving that I can do it.”
Baxter will be among more than 2,500 competitors from 29 countries and 48 states racing in the fifth annual Ford Ironman Louisville, which will be held Sunday, Aug. 28, starting at Waterfront Park and finishing at Fourth Street Live!
Ironman Louisville has become one of the largest in the world in terms of entries, according to Ironman spokesperson Shelby Tuttle.
“(Louisville) is a great venue,” Tuttle said. “It’s just really scenic. The fans have been a huge impact on us keeping it (in Louisville).”
The Louisville Sports Commission and World Triathlon Corp. agreed in April to continue holding the event in Louisville through 2016.
Ironman triathletes aren’t your typical athletes. The average age is 37 and a majority are white-collar professionals. Seventy percent are male.
“People tend to get their start in Ironman races a little later,” Tuttle said.
The race begins around 7 a.m. with a 2.4-mile swim in the Ohio River. The 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run that follow go through not only downtown Louisville but also Butchertown, Prospect, Clifton, LaGrange and Clarksville, Ind.
Last year’s overall winner, Paul Ambrose, finished the race in a time of 8 hours and 29 minutes. Top woman, Rebekah Keat, finished in 9:33:15. Competitors have until midnight to finish the race.
Baxter finished last year in 12 hours and 12 minutes. He is hoping to break 12 hours this year.
Allison Siu, a former University of Louisville rowing team member, will be among the first-timers in this year’s race.
The 22-year-old student has raced in two Olympic distance triathlons (.93 mile swim, 24.8 bike ride, 6.2 mile run) to prepare for the race.
“It’s always been something on my bucket list, and I feel like I’m kind of in the peak shape of my life having just finished rowing,” Siu said. “I’ve had a lot of fun with it and like the challenge.”
She is hoping to finish the race in 15 hours.
The number of people who don’t finish the race is typically 10 to 15 percent, depending on the weather, Tuttle said.
Baxter clearly remembers crossing the finish line last year.
“It’s pretty amazing. It’s a little bit emotional,” he said.
But it also left him with a question: What next?
Where to watch
Key viewing areas will be at Waterfront Park from 7 a.m. until about 8:30 a.m. where racers will start the swim and make the transition to the bike race.
Racers start crossing the finish line at Fourth Street Live! around 3 p.m. and continue until midnight.
For more information, visit www.ironmanlouisville.com.
Contact writer Jacob Glassner at email@example.com. Staff writer Ashley Anderson contributed to this story.
By the numbers
2.4: miles of swimming
26.2: miles of running
29: number of countries represented
37: average age of racers
48: number of states represented
112: miles of biking
$25,000: prize purse for the event
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jacob Glassner, News Editor/Plate Spinner
Jacob usually has his eyes glued to a computer screen, editing stories and making sure the paper gets out the door each week. Multi-tasking is his modus operandi – similar to the plate spinners you’d see on the old “Ed Sullivan Show.” Turn ons: freshly-sharpened pencils. Turn offs: exclamation points!!!