Kaua‘i man completes Ironman St. George

LIHU‘E — The race was deemed too hard. That’s what Kaua‘i’s Ikaika Curnan had heard as he trained for the Ironman St. George held in St. George, Utah, on May 5.

LIHU‘E — The race was deemed too hard.

That’s what Kaua‘i’s Ikaika Curnan had heard as he trained for the Ironman St. George held in St. George, Utah, on May 5.

Prior to the event, Ironman officials announced that the St. George race would be the last full Ironman on that course. The traditional Ironman credentials of a 2.4 – mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride followed by a 26.2-mile marathon will be halved.

Race officials said the course was too high. The temperatures were too hot. It was just too hard.

Apparently not for Curnan.

The 29-year-old father completed the race in just under 15 hours, becoming one of the last men to complete the brutal race before next year’s change.

“There were times during the race where I asked myself why I was doing it,”Curnan said. “But when you’re running down the finish line and through the chute it’s a feeling you can’t describe.”

Curnan said he’s been wanting to compete in an Ironman for years, but oftentimes wasn’t able to because of how fast the competitions fill up. He said he was actually fortunate that the St. George course is known for being so tough, because it actually deters other athletes from the race.

He was told by other racers that St. George wasn’t recommended for first-time Ironman athletes, but Curnan had set himself a goal of completing an Ironman before he turned 30 and the clock was ticking.

He began his training regime inside a 8-foot by 10-foot shed he bought from Home Depot. Inside he positioned a treadmill and a stationary bike.

Curnan works two jobs — one at Hawaiian Airlines and the other at Pacific Concrete — to make ends meet and had to work his training around his work schedule. Most of the time, this meant hitting the shed at 4 a.m.

“When I started training for this it was still in the winter and the sun wouldn’t rise until 7 a.m.,” he said. “I could tell when the race was starting to get closer because the sun would come up earlier and earlier as I worked out.”

Curnan’s rigorous training schedule paid off in the end as he completed the course with over two hours to spare from the 17-hour cutoff.

It was an effort that impressed Curnan’s fellow Kaua‘i runners. Local triathlete Casey McGraw said the St. George course is renowned for its difficulty.

“I’ve always been impressed with his work ethic,” McGraw said. “He’s working two jobs full-time and on top of that finding time to go out and train.”

Curnan said nearly 43 percent of the field didn’t finish the race. He said it’s because of this that the race will be halved next season, a decision he is disappointed in.

It’s an Ironman after all, he said. It’s supposed to be hard.

“I wish they would keep the race,” he said. “People need to know how hard the course actually is.”


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