LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Nearly 3,000 athletes from all around the world competed in the 2013 IRONMAN Louisville triathlon.

It started with a 2.4 mile swim in the Ohio River just before 7 a.m. Sunday followed by a 112 mile bike ride and then a full marathon.

Just over 8 hours later, a winner crossed the finish line.

WDRB caught up with Chris McDonald, also known as Big Sexy, just moments after he finished.

"Ecstatic. I was saying at the finish line, this town means the world to me," said Chris McDonald, the Ironman 2013 winner.

This isn't McDonald's first victory in Louisville.

"This is the fifth time I've raced here. I've had three wins and two seconds and I love it," he said.

McDonald is from Australia and lives in Austin, TX but says there's something very special about competing in Derby City.

"Honestly, I don't think it's the course. I think it's the city. There's courses just like it in other cities but I think it's the city. Good people, good vibes, good luck," he told WDRB.

So what goes through someone's mind when they win an Ironman?

"The thought's not about me or about winning. It's about my family, about my fiance, about my son," he said.

And family seemed to be the trend on the sidelines.

A first time Ironman athlete from Seymour, Indiana brought an enthusiastic group.

"Just for moral support and to let her know we love and support her and all the hard work she's put into this," said Teresa Bryant whose daughter participated.

But even though they were there to support their family member and friend, they made it a point to cheer on every single athlete that went by.

"Everyone needs the support. It helps us and encourages us because when they smile back at us and give us the thumbs up, they need that encouragement too," Bryant said.

Athletes agree it's that support that keeps them going.

"Doing these things, I'm not the only one that makes sacrifices to do it. As a matter of fact, I think I sacrifice the least," said McDonald.

For more information about the race and winners, click here.

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