Triathletes battle heat, humidity to finish Ironman Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Triathletes battle heat, humidity to finish Ironman Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Despite extreme heat, thousands of triathletes competed in the IronMan Louisville Saturday.

With a heat index of 100 degrees, IronMan organizers took extra precautions along the course. Volunteers handed out bags of ice, and made sure there was plenty of water along the way, as 50 doctors, 80 nurses and hundreds of volunteers were available to athletes as they crossed the finish line.

"Volunteers were outstanding, did a great job--had bunches of ice, and kept packing it in everywhere," said Todd Shellenberger of Indianapolis, Ind. who said it helped that the sun held off until he entered the run.

Competitors swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and finished with a marathon run of 26.2 miles. Competitors are required to finish each leg in a certain amount of time, or they are cut from the race.

For the second year in a row, Chris McDonald of Australia was Louisville's fastest Ironman. He took the win by finishing the race in 08:40:51. Nina Kraft of Germany took first place for the women, finishing at 09:31:19.

McDonald Collapsed as he crossed the finish line. He said the heat played a roll in his exhaustion.

"It doesn't matter how much you train in it, it effects the body in ways you can't explain," he said addressing his medical condition after the race. "It was exhaustion, dehydration, relief, and truly my mind just saying, you made it. That's enough."

IronMan says more than 2,000 people competed in Saturday's race, but that number may decrease next year as it will be the last year the professionals race in Louisville.

IronMan will still hold a race in Louisville in 2015, but the professionals will no longer participate as the organization is doing away with the cash prize. Organizers say it is in an effort to make the purses larger at IronMan races in other cities.

McDonald says he still doesn't completely understand the decision.

"I don't want to see the race die. And I feel with no pro race it takes a little bit of shine off the race. So if I can come back and put a little shine on it, I'd love to do that."

McDonald has won in Louisville four times. He says it was the inaugural race in 2007 that encouraged him to stick with the sport.

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