Park City grads excel in Ironman triathlon in Idaho
Jack Schwartz will be attending the world championship in October after second-place finish
The Ironman triathlon is the ultimate test of human endurance, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon all in one day. In late June, three recent Park City alumni persevered and finished the race.
Jack Schwartz, Jack Troxel and Lucas Hoeksema made it to the finish line at a recent Ironman event in Coeur d’Alene. Schwartz finished with the second-best time in his division at 11:38:11, while Troxel and Hoeksema finished in fifth and 27th, respectively. Schwartz and Troxel, Park City class of 2020 graduates, qualified for the world championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October, though only Schwartz will be attending.
Troxel took a gap year this past year before attending Northwestern next year. He spent the off year training and staying active.
“(I was) kind of doing everything I can to stay busy and stay active, and it ended up working out pretty well,” Troxel said.
Getting his body ready for nearly 12 consecutive hours of racing was a challenge. Troxel knew that the sheer length of the race would be difficult and that there would be adjustments he would have to make along the way.
“There’s only so much you can train and practice because it’s just not worth going out and doing 12-hour training days, especially when your primary goal is just to finish the race,” he said. “You’re basically missing two or three meals that day, and you’re just out there for a very long time. So it was definitely kind of something that I had to recognize was going to be a new feeling during the race and something that I knew was definitely going to be the hardest part of it.
“Because the body was ready, but it was definitely hard to push for that long.”
The sweltering late June heat in Idaho hit triple digits throughout the race, preventing many from finishing the race. Over 2,000 racers competed in the event, and hundreds didn’t finish. Troxel approached the race with the goal of just finishing the race, and that kept him going.
“There were definitely points where it got hard, but it was very cool to be at that event where you’re always surrounded by other people who are going through the same thing,” Troxel said. “If it ever got super hard, it was just time to take a step back and realize that there was another day ahead of you.”
Hoeksema, who recently graduated from Park City High, found the 112-mile bike ride to be the hardest leg of the race because of the heat and length of the ride, calling it “pure pain.”
“You can walk on the marathon, but on the bike, you kind of have to move at a pretty steady pace just to keep going and make the cutoff and to get out of that blazing heat,” he said.
Hoeksema, who will be attending the University of Florida in the fall, managed to get through the bike ride in one piece before finishing the day with the marathon. While the biking leg was difficult, he still had enough left in the tank.
“That was tough, but not once during the race was I like, ‘Oh man, I might not finish this,’” Hoeksema said. “I knew I was going to finish and was very determined to finish because I had been training for so long and worked so hard to get to that point.”
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