Champion Ironman crosses the finish line

Ms. Kupersmith competes in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii October 11.
Photos courtesy of Ms. Kupersmith

Ms. Kupersmith competes in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii October 11. Photos courtesy of Ms. Kupersmith

Ms. Tara Kupersmith, mother of Convent of the Sacred Heart sophomore Lizzie Kupersmith and junior Caleigh Kupersmith, placed ninth in the women’s age 45-49 category at the 2014 Ironman World Championship October 11 in Kailuna-Kona, Hawaii.
An Ironman Race is a long-distance competition organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The race is over 140 miles, including a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run, without any breaks, according to totaltriathlon.com.
In order to qualify for the Ironman World Championship, participants must first earn a Kona qualification at an Ironman event. Depending on the venue, there are anywhere from 35-75 spots allocated to top placing competitors.
Ms. Kupersmith has participated in many sprints and Olympic distance triathlons since 1987. In 2004, she completed her first half Ironman, a 70.3 mile race. She proceeded to compete in her first full Ironman the following year in Austria.
This year, Ms. Kupersmith raced Ironman Lake Placid July 27. It was her fourth Ironman distance event, and there were 60 Kona qualification slots allocated to all competitors. Three slots were reserved for the women’s age 45-49 group.
Ms. Kupersmith finished her race in 11 hours and three minutes, placing second in her division and earning a Kona qualification.
In preparation for the 2014 Lake Placid Ironman race, Ms. Kupersmith began training 15-18 hours a week in January. She swam, cycled, ran, and participated in routine yoga and strength training. According to trainright.com, participants should train for at least 12 months before embarking on the challenge of an Ironman Triathlon.

Ms. Kupersmith competes in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii October 11. Photos courtesy of Ms. Kupersmith
Ms. Kupersmith competes in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii October 11.
Photos courtesy of Ms. Kupersmith

As the season progressed and Ms. Kupersmith qualified for the championship, she intensified her routine by practicing up to 30 hours each week.
“I swim with a master’s group at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and do most of my long rides (100-120 miles) and long runs (two to three hours) with my friends,” Ms. Kupersmith said. “So while it is a lot of time, I am spending it with friends, and it passes quickly.”
In addition to her training, Ms. Kupersmith simultaneously competed in shorter races throughout the year. 
“This year, I raced Oceanside 70.3 in California, finishing third in my AG (age group), with a PR (personal record) on my run of seven minutes. That made me hopeful for a successful season,” she said.
She traveled to the Ironman World Championship in Kailuna-Kona, Hawaii with her family for her October 11 competition.
“I loved watching my mom compete. She inspires me to never give up, and I hope one day to be as confident in my athletic ability as she is in hers,” Caleigh said.
According to runtri.com, the average Ironman participant spends about 12 and a half hours participating in an Ironman race. Ms. Kupersmith, however, completed her race in 11 hours and 34 minutes, placing ninth in her division, and 1172 overall in the World Championships.
“Competing in any distance triathlon is an accomplishment,” Ms. Kupersmith said. “If you think you might like to do a tri, do it. There is a great camaraderie among the athletes. I have made life long friends through the sport. There is nothing like hearing ‘you are an Ironman’ announced as you cross the finish line.”
– Alana Galloway, Co-Features Editor