By Camille Cox | Staff Writer
Waco hosted two IRONMAN triathlon events on Oct. 23 and 24: IRONMAN Waco and IRONMAN 70.3 Waco, which is half of the full one.
Baltimore, Md., senior Wyatt Hales crossed the finish line at IRONMAN 70.3 Waco. He said the race consisted of three legs: swim, bike and run.
“The 1.2-mile swim is first,” Hales said. “And the middle leg is a bike that’s 56 miles. And the last leg is the run, and that’s a half marathon, so 13.1 miles. Ultimately, it goes up to 70.3 miles.”
The course took place in the Waco wetlands, went downtown and ended at the Suspension Bridge.
Hales said he enjoyed being able to complete his goal in his college town, surrounded by friendly and familial support.
“My whole house was there, and my family came down for this weekend and saw the race,” Hales said. “It was nice to have it in Waco so that I could have the people that I love the most with me throughout the race and at the finish line.”
Wilmington, Del., senior Jack Prosceno said he enjoyed watching Hales, his roommate, achieve his goal of finishing the half triathlon.
“We found him a little earlier in the race, and then we had to drive back,” Prosceno said. “We got there right as he was getting close. He saw us again, and his face lit up. We were all like, ‘Yeah Wyatt!’ You could kind of feel the energy transfer, and he picked it up and went a little faster.”
IRONMAN 70.3 Waco offered spots for those who qualified to then compete in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
Hales said his goal was to finish the race, as this was his first half-triathlon race.
“However long I could go during trainings was what I did, and that ultimately got me through the finish line,” Hales said.
Prosceno said he thought the race being held in Waco was beneficial to the community and businesses nearby.
“When I got there, I said, ‘Wow, this is awesome,’ and it was right by the Suspension Bridge,” Prosceno said. “I thought, ‘This is a great place for it.’ There were some food trucks and a ton of people. I kept hearing their names when they would call them out from Austin or Houston or from even other states, so it brings a ton of people to Waco that might not always see it.”
Athletes across the world gather for IRONMAN races, offering a unique opportunity for Baylor students to gather and watch the event each year in their college town.
“I came to the day prior to see the full IRONMAN, and I didn’t expect to be waiting at the finish line for that long because you wouldn’t expect it to be exciting to see someone run past the finish line, but the feat that they achieved was so interesting to see,” Hales said.