LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- It is one of the most grueling competitions anyone can do – Ironman.

Sunday, Louisville was host to thousands of athletes as they put their endurance to the test.

"I’m not at all nervous. I’m excited. Looking forward to getting this done. I have been training for about 10 months for this moment," Charlotte, North Carolina, resident Josh Mcgrath told WDRB News. He and 2,300 athletes gathered at the Great Lawn just after sunrise Sunday for the 13th annual event. "I wanted to prove I could do it," Mcgrath said.

The competition had a rolling, staggared start based on time, where two athletes would start every five seconds, taking about 90 minutes for the last athlete to take off. The 2.4-mile swimming portion of the competition had to be called off because of high levels of algae blooms in the Ohio River.

Spectators and family members lined the routes to watch loved ones kick off the 112-mile bike ride and 26-mile run, including Mcgrath’s wife, who watched his training every step of the way.

"He’s cool and collected and I didn’t sleep at all last night – not much for the last few weeks, actually,” Megan Mcgrath said.

After nearly 8 1/2 hours, the first finishers crossed the line at Fourth Street Live – completing what they trained months for.

"(There was) a lot of wind on the bike course. It’s not an easy bike course as it is but the wind added to it so the last hour coming home I was hurting," men’s first place winner Eric Engel said.

About 35 minutes later, the first woman crossed the finish line. Liza Rachetto has competed in several Ironman events and said she has always wanted to compete in Louisville.

“I am going to enjoy downtown tonight with friends and family and my husband. I have a couple days left here so I am just going to relax,” Rachetto said.

Race officials say they plan on having the final athlete cross the finish line around 12:45 a.m. Monday.

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