While many people scaled back outdoor activities because of the heat Sunday, others took it up another notch, with the Racine Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. The event involved a 1.2-mile swim in 66-degree Lake Michigan followed by a 56-mile bike ride and concluding with a 13.1-mile run.

Paul Ambrose of Australia didn’t mention the conditions in receiving his first place trophy. The 27-year-old was almost 6-minutes ahead in the field of pros. While women’s winner Christy Sim, from New South Wales, acknowledged it was a tad warm, but still a great time.

“It was tough for all of us. This is my first big victory as a pro so it’s pretty special,” says Sim.

Madison firefighter Rob Verhouse did the event in turnout gear, helmet & oxygen tank included. He considers it a “warm-up” for Ironman Wisconsin on September 11th and competed as a tribute to Code-3 for a Cure Foundation which benefits families of firefighters with cancer.

An Iraq War veteran missing a limb inspired the crowd. Melissa Stockwell of Chicago competing with a metal left leg was loudly cheered by onlookers.

Ironman organizers – who put on competitions across the country, were prepared for the sweltering temperatures – according to Dave Blank, Executive Director of Real Racine. Blank says the event began with 10,000 lbs of ice along with plenty of water and electrolyte drinks.

Some triathletes required medical attention afterward in a crowded tent, but nothing the staff couldn’t handle.

Tom Karkow-WRJN

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