Knoxville — Knoxville's Bryan Schlotterback completed the Canadian Ironman event last week in 12 hours and 32 minutes. The swim, bike, run triathlon was not the most challenging aspect of the trip, when compared to being away from his family.
"Twelve hours seemed like half a day's work," Schlotterback said. He has become famous around Knoxville after running for extended periods of time to raise money for Ken Locke Stadium.
Schlotterback finished in 965th place, of approximately 3,000 participants - which included an 82-year-old woman - in the event. The triathlon included a 2.4-mile lake swim, a 124-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, back to back. Prior to the event, Schlotterback said he was nervous about the swim, but it turned out well.
"The swim actually went better than I thought it would," Schlotterback said. he had no idea how long it would take, but he finished in one hour and 35 minutes. Those 95 minutes were spent swimming among all of the other contestants. The number of participants meant enduring a lot of inadvertant kicking and hitting in the water.
After making it through the swim, the bike ride and run were easy for Schlotterback. As he completed the run, the miles were counted down for him by markers along the route.
"I couldn't believe that I did it," Schlotterback said. "I honestly felt I was out of my league." He was very happy and excited about his finish.
Schlotterback said he was feeling pressure on himself. He did not want to disappoint the community of Knoxville, which sent him numerous text and other messages of support to him in the days and moments leading up to the event.
"It totally helped me get through," Schlotterback said. "The amount of support was very humbling."
Having no friends or family with him at the event, cheering him on, was difficult. He had to be in Canada days before the event, but without his family. His wife, Amanda, was specifically mentioned. He called her the leg he stands on at the end of these endurance events in which he participates. He missed having her there to encourage him.
"I would like to go to one where my wife can be there, too," Schlotterback said. Having his children at a future event would be nice as well, he said.
Schlotterback is thinking about taking part in another event like this in the future. He was not even back in the United States before he was already contemplating ways he could have trimmed time off of his triathlon. When he enters his next triathlon, Schlotterback also plans to train more.
In the end, he was glad to come home.
"It felt so good to be home," he said. "The support I got from the community was just incredible."