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AHS Senior Completes First Ironman Triathlon

AHS Senior Completes First Ironman Triathlon

When you encounter challenges in life, you're faced with a choice. Will you ignore them? Will you find a way to avoid them? Or will you rise to meet them?

Avon High School Senior Nick Sommers decided to rise to meet challenges ... and then some.

This fall, Nick and his family traveled to Arizona where he was the youngest competitor in a full-distance Ironman triathlon. For those who are unfamiliar with the sport, to complete the race competitors must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles.

Nick strode across the finish line.

We conducted an interview by email to learn more about Nick, what drives him, what it was like competing in such a grueling race, and what's next for him.

What got you into triathlon?

Around the age of 15 my parents first introduced me to the sport of triathlon and the full-distance Ironman triathlon. Ever since I heard of Ironman I was hooked. Fast forward to junior year which was a challenge. I faced some intense mental and physical adversity that persuaded me to take a step back and reevaluate. What I came up with was Ironman. “Be an IRONMAN!” has been my motto for the last nine months. I wear it on my wrist everyday. The cancelled plans, cut relationships, and social isolation forced me to develop tremendous amounts of grit! I trained over 3,000 miles in nine months almost all by myself. [I overcame] hundreds of hours and millions of mind sharpening moments throughout training and the race to accomplish my goal.

We all have 24 hours in the day to do something amazing. I encourage anyone to take on this challenge and BE AN IRONMAN! Nick Sommers

How did it feel to be the youngest competitor?

Being the youngest competitor was a very important part of my journey I think. Throughout all my training I always told myself, “nobody my age does what I do. They couldn’t do what I do,” and I firmly believe that. All Ironman finishers are impressive, but I think what sets me apart from the rest is that I did this with limited networking and understanding of the sport. A lot of people asked me, “Nick, why are you going out and training 30 hours a week by yourself in the heat of summer?”. My response was simply, “I love what I do.” But to fully answer the question, it was amazing. When Mike Reilly said, “and our youngest competitor, 18 years old, Nick Sommers. Eighteen years old, you are an Ironman!” It was the gratification and praise I yearned for from the beginning. It’s honestly hard to put into words how happy I felt. Post race, I sat down and just began to cry because of how proud I was of myself (I was also in a lot of pain but that’s besides the point).

How do you feel about your result?

I think that it really turned out how I would have wanted. I’m still an amateur so there is a lot to improve, but overall I’m happy with the result. I placed 512/2,480 with a final time of 12 hours and 13 minutes. In the swim, I did fantastic, placing 16th overall. Miles 17-23 of the marathon were the beast. The fatigue set in and energy was fading away. It was mentally the most challenging, but was in the end the reason why Ironman is so hard. That final two miles were like I was floating. I dropped from a 17 minute mile to a 7 minute mile and could not feel stronger. That final shoot into the finish line was just incredible. The words, the lights, the red carpet, all of it was just perfect. So yes, I am very proud of my results and am excited to continue to improve and hopefully be a top contender.

What’s next?

I want to continue to do Ironmans and better all the disciplines. In addition, I’m looking to seek my pro card next year through USAT (USA Triathlon) by winning local events and mainly improving my cycling. I’m currently looking into my schedule next year to set up my races, and it’s looking to be a good one. I cannot wait to improve my craft and hopefully become the best 18-19 year old in the country.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am beyond proud and grateful to have this opportunity and the support from my friends and family. I want to especially thank my boys on Avon Swimming and my coach Brayton for their help and encouragement throughout those painful months of training. In addition, I want to thank my parents. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without their help and advice. We all have 24 hours in the day to do something amazing. I encourage anyone to take on this challenge and BE AN IRONMAN!

Congratulations, Nick, on this incredible achievement. We can't wait to see what you do next.

 

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