Rasmussen proves worthy of Ironman event

Local triathlete finishes 11th in age division of massive Hawaiian race

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Go to www.ironman.com and enter "Rasmussen" in the Athlete Tracker search window on the right side of the page to see a video of Joy Rasmussen finishing the race and see her times for each of the three segments.

— Joy Rasmussen's goal was to finish in the top 10 of her age group at Saturday's Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii. She fell one spot short, crossing the finish line 11th in the 37-competitor category, but it did little to temper her excitement.

Instead, it may have planted the seed for another attempt at the massive race.

"I was really happy with what I did," Rasmussen said Monday via telephone from Hawaii. "Does finishing one slot back make me want to do it again? If you had asked me Sunday, I'd have said I'd never do it again. But now I think maybe on my 60th birthday or some other milestone I might decide to try it again."

The race included 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles running. Rasmussen wrapped that all up in 12 hours, 30 minutes and 9 seconds.

The bike race was the Steamboat Springs resident's best section. She emerged from the water in 19th place, but blew past many in her women's 50- to 54-year-old category during the long bike section.

She was 10th when she entered the run, finishing the long bike ride in 6:23:25.

"I didn't want to get pummeled in the water, so I got behind some of the top line guys. I made up the time in the transitions, then just kept passing people on my bike," Rasmussen said.

She gave up one spot during the marathon-distance run, but surged in the final 11 miles to ensure no one else would slip by. She averaged 10:33 per mile for the first 15, but 9:40 over the last 11.

"The run is something I've had to work on for the longest time. It's always a challenge for me," she said. "In the last third of the race, I really tried to kick it into gear. I felt so good and just kept running really fast."

Strong winds buffeted the island throughout the race and Rasmussen said it felt like she always was working into a headwind no matter which direction she was racing. Still, she said the whole thing made for a great experience, and she smiled wide as she crossed the finish line, waving an American flag and throwing her arms in the air.

"It was the most incredible experience I've ever had in my life," Rasmussen said. "It feels great that I did what I did."

- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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