Friends complete Ironman triathlon together
For a couple of Candler residents, the phrase “push yourself to the limit” is not just a motto — it’s a lifestyle.
Jason Bodnar and Melody Roberson put the words to the test last month when they competed in the Ironman Triathlon last month in Whistler B.C. in Canada.
An Ironman Triathlon is a long-distance triathlon race organized by the World Triathlon Corporation consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break.
Both Bodnar and Roberson successfully completed the triathlon within the 17-hour time limit allowed during the race.
“I was thrilled just make it to the starting line,” Bodnar said. “It’s not so much about how you place or your time, it’s just great out there celebrating the sport.”
“It was challenging but it was fun,” Roberson said. “It was a very long day but the end result is well worth it. When you run down shoot at the finish line and everyone is there to congratulate makes everything worthwhile.”
Bodnar, a dentist who lives in Candler and is a dentist in Clyde, said he felt accomplished after completing the race with a time of nine hours and 53 minutes — and impressive feat considering he broke his collarbone and spent six weeks recovering before the triathlon.
“In May, my bicycle crashed — I don’t know exactly what happened,” Bodnar said. “I was coming off of Mount Pisgah and something went wrong. The next thing I know, my arm wasn’t where it should have been. I knew (the race) would be harder than I ever imagined.”
Bodnar, who has been competing in marathons throughout his life, said the idea of completing a triathlon was rejuvenating for him.
“When I’m out there biking and swimming, I feel like I’m in high school,” Bodnar said. “I’m out there learning something new and it’s a different kind of feeling.”
Bodnar finished with a good time, ranking 63 out of about 2,700 people, but said he believes he still wasn’t as prepared for the race as he could have been.
“I really thought I could go faster than I did,” Bodnar said. “I didn’t even know if I would make it to the starting line, but so many people supported me — I felt like I wanted to be out there running for them, even though they weren’t there with me, they were there.”
Roberson, a co-owner of Pawn World in Candler, said she always had wanted to compete in the Ironman, and trained for seven months to get in shape for the one in Canada. She successfully completed the triathlon with a time of 16 hours and 23 minutes.
“It didn’t really matter to me about finishing under the time limit,” Roberson said. “Just to get through it and have the experience doing it was enough. I can mark it off my bucket list.”
Roberson said the race took a huge toll on her body and required her to rest for three weeks before resuming exercise. However, she admits to being “bitten by the bug,” and hopes to sign up for a triathlon again in the future.
“You feel really good and you feel really bad at the same time,” Robersaid said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t mind do it one more time to try and better my time. I Know what to expect after having gone through that one. … It just feels amazing. A lot of people don’t make it. This will be a lifelong experience.”