Locals tackle 1st Ironman

Bedard, Webb  race in Louisville

The Ironman competition is among the most grueling and demanding athletic events there is.

Competitors have to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and finish off the day by completing a marathon distance run of 26.2 miles.

It is an event that requires months of training and planning and even when all of that goes right, there is no guarantee it will turn into a completed attempt.

But for two locals, their first try at an Ironman was a success. Both made the trip to Louisville for the Aug. 25 race and both finished.

David Bedard of Hancock completed the course in 12 hours, 26 minutes and 10 seconds. That is closer to the time that Leigh Webb of Jaffrey, who works at Conant and coaches the varsity field hockey team, expected to have before having to walk the final 11 miles of the run course. Webb finished in 14:48:13 after taking close to seven hours to finish the 26.2-mile run.

“It was the most frustrating thing not to be able to run because I was not tired,” said Webb of a leg injury that developed late in the race. “I was ready for the run and I did a good job for 15 miles of it. But the most important thing for me was to finish.”

Bedard finished the swim in 1:18:59 and powered through the bike in 5:49:43. He ran the marathon in 5:04:31 to take 90th in his age group and 736th overall.

“I did far better than I ever had thought I’d do,” said Bedard. “The run takes the most out of you. Running a marathon after those two events is just brutal.”

Webb was second out of the water in her age group with a time of 1:04:41 and then completed the bike in 6:46:00. She was 28th in her division and 1,742 overall.

In terms of training, Bedard began over the winter. He swam at Crotched Mountain during the winter and the perimeter of Dublin Lake three times a week in the summer. Once the weather got nice, he worked with a group out of Eastern Mountain Sports in both cycling and running.

“You need to log thousands of miles to have a successful Ironman,” said Bedard. “It takes a lot of effort and a big time commitment in order to pull it off.”

Webb has participated in marathons, half Ironmans and triathlons and this was just the next thing to cross off her bucket list. Since it was her first attempt, it was important to finish. Her training began about a year ago and eventually grew to 18-plus hours a week, including many 100-mile bike rides followed by a six to 10 mile run.

“I picked Louisville because I could concentrate on my training in the summer months,” said Webb. “And it take a lot of time and energy to prepare for it.”

While the training ensured Bedard and Webb could finish, both pointed to nutrition as a crucial piece of the puzzle.

After the one-day event, both said never again. But it didn’t last long as Bedard and Webb have added another Ironman competition to their list of goals.

There are no immediate plans, but it is something each wants to try again.

And the objective is to not only finish again, but improve the second time around.

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