Australian Paratriathlete Lauren Parker has achieved the incredible feat of completing the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission in St. George, USA.
Parker finished her first IRONMAN as a Paratriathlete in 14:00:47, with a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run between her and the finish line in St. George.
The race was Parker’s first IRONMAN since suffering serious injuries in a training accident in 2017.
“It was a really tough day out, one of the toughest I've ever had in my life,” said Parker. “I had a decent swim in the cold waters of St. George and I got onto the bike and I was feeling pretty good right from the start and got stronger as the day went on and I got to put a good bike together in seven and a half hours, and that was my goal.
“I was all on track to getting the time that I wanted and on that run though, I've been talking all week about how brutal that bike course is but that run course was probably more brutal than ever,” she said. “It's the hardest thing I've done so just to get through that run course, that second lap I really had to dig deep and to get up those hills was a really big challenge for me in a racing wheelchair. I proved to myself that Anything is Possible if you believe in yourself and never give up.
This year is a year like no other for IRONMAN, with the rescheduled 2021 IRONMAN World Championship held this weekend in Utah, ahead of the 2022 Supersapians IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawai’i this October.
St. George became the first location to host the event outside of Hawai’i since its origins in 1978, with the IRONMAN World Championship returning after a two-year COVID-enforced hiatus, with the Utah course a challenging one for all.
“It is a beautiful course but on race day, in race time I'm not looking at the scenery I'm looking at the road ahead and thinking about the pain I'm in and how I'm going to conquer the course,” she said. “All week being here in St. George in Utah I've been over the course quite a few days and the scenery is absolutely magnificent and I couldn't ask for a better place to have the IRONMAN World Championships for my first IRONMAN.”
The 33-year-old now has her sights set on Kona in October.
“100%, that's what I've been waiting for since my accident is Kona IRONMAN World Championship, that's where my heart is,” said Parker. “I did it twice as an able-bodied athlete and I can't wait to get back there as a Para athlete and see what I can do.”
Lauren was also joined at the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN World Championship by four Australians across the professional men's and women's fields, with Cameron Wurf (18th), Matt Burton, Max Neumann and Renee Kiley (14th) taking on what has widely been called one of the toughest and most difficult IRONMAN courses around.
Kiley expressing her elation on her social media after her 14th place finish at her Ironman World Championships debut, "I said before this race a dream result for me would be top 15, well, dreams do come true."
For more information about the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission event, please visit www.ironman.com/im-world-championship-2021
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