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Competing for cure in Ironman World Championship

HOUSTON – For some, the Ironman World Championship will take up to 17 hours. How long it takes for each competitor depends on the grueling conditions on this, the big island of Hawaii.

It’s a 140.6 mile race. The winds, waves and heat take their toll. KPRC 2 Meteorologist Eric Braate started with a weather forecast.

“The conditions today, warm, humid. But nothing I’m not used to training in Houston. It’s going to be a little bit windy. We have strong trade winds,” Braate said.

He started with a 2.4 mile swim with the rest of the male age group athletes. The swim is just shy of the running loop at Memorial Park. The swim took him an hour and sixteen minutes. After a quick transition from the swim to the bike on the pier in Kona, he was off for a 112-mile bike race. 

Wendy Hammerman Kilburn of Houston was in Hawaii cheering for the athletes.

“This place has got to be the most electric place on earth right now. It is amazing to watch these athletes,” Kilburn said.

In places, there were lots of spectators. 

At other places on the bike course, triathletes were all alone with their own thoughts. 

“When you’re in those areas where there’s not a lot of crowd support, it’s tough. Mentally, it can be very challenging. You just have to stay focused on what you’re doing,” Braate said.

Braate’s focus was helping end blood cancers.

From the bike, it was on to a 26.2 mile run. The course will close at midnight in Kona. That is 5 a.m. in Houston -- a very long day no matter the time zone.

“If I can do this, anybody can do this. What it takes is time, it takes commitment. And it takes the will to get it done,” Braate said.

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