Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 returns to the Roanoke Valley

Matthew Guenter was the first to cross the finish line at the 2nd annual Carilion Clinic...
Matthew Guenter was the first to cross the finish line at the 2nd annual Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 on Sunday.(Will Thomas)
Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 5:14 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The day started at Carvins Cove. More than 2,500 athletes from across the country hopped into the water to kick-off the 2nd annual Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3.

“Last year was so special because it was really the first time we had gotten together and to see it repeated this year but with close to a thousand more participants, it’s remarkable,” said Dr. Patrice Weiss, Chief Medical Officer at Carilion Clinic.

The field was full of experience, including a member of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Team Twenty 24.

“This is my first relay I’ve ever done but I started out with triathlons when I was 15 and moved over to cycling so maybe next year I’ll do the whole thing,” said Amanda Coker.

But the overall feeling of each participant was excitement.

“From what I understand of the course, it’s going to be my most challenging IRONMAN, but it’s a beautiful course and I’m looking forward to it,” said Todd Michels, who traveled with his team from New York to compete.

From the water, the athletes hopped on their bikes for a 56-mile ride to River’s Edge, where they finished with a half-marathon race to the finish line.

“There’s no better feeling, I think every finish line brings tears to my eyes. Just knowing what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished,” said Phil Brogan.

For Carilion Clinic leaders, they were happy to be able to show each visitor what the Roanoke Valley has to offer.

“They really got to see our hometown. Our mountains, our waters, our rivers, our parkway, our greenway, and you know what was really special, they got to see our people,” said Dr. Weiss.

Carilion hopes this is an event that will be a part of the Roanoke Valley for many years to come.

The athletes also got a little boost from hundreds along the course. Neighbors and family members were all across the area cheering on the participants.

Especially as the athletes made the transition from the bike portion to the half marathon. Many were looking forward to the special moment when their friend or family member crossed the finish line.

”He’s going to be gassed and mom and dad are going to be relieved and excited,” said Tom Reilly, who was there with his wife cheering on their son in his first IRONMAN.

The Reilly’s were just one of the many who were proud to see their loved ones take on this challenge.

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