BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — “Katherine! You are an Ironman,” was the best part of the day for Kat Currier as she crossed the finish line for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The Baton Rouge native swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles — a full marathon —in one day. Completing this race on Saturday, Oct. 14, was a goal years in the making.
Kona was Currier’s fourth Ironman. All the races require the same distance traveled, but the world championship is by qualification only.
“Ever since I got involved with this sport, the buzz was always about Kona,” she said. “The top athletes get to compete there. It’s the most challenging and the greatest honor. It’s like the Boston Marathon for Ironman.”
The road to Kona
“Qualifying depends on the placement in your age group. Each race is different because it depends on how many spots they offer and how many people show up in your age group. Typically it is first and second place that will walk away with a spot to Kona,” she said.
Currier qualified in September 2022 at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Baton Rouge woman said she “had been training pretty consistently since the beginning of 2020” leading up to the qualifying round. After that, she took a six-month break from hard pacing and ran some smaller road races.
“There is a decent size community here in the city that trains and competes in various triathlon distances,” she said.
Currier has worked at Varsity Sports for seven years.
“They were the most supportive, she said. “Our work family is a very active group, so they understand what it takes to go after and achieve a goal.”
They even recognized her accomplishment as an IronMan World Championship finisher.
Prep for Kona started in earnest on Saturday, April 1. What started as 8- to 10-hour training weeks of “swimming, biking, running and strength training” expanded to 16-hour training weeks, said Currier.
‘This course had other plans for me’
“I prefer not to hang around the race venue too many days in advance because it affects the nerves!” Currier said.
She arrived in Hawaii three days early, and race day was still a lot to process.
“This was the first time that I’ve competed in Hawaii. But last year, I had the pleasure of going to watch my best training friend cross the finish line!” She said, “So I had an idea of what to expect this year.”
She said the “hardest” part of each race differs, and athletes focus on individual strengths and weaknesses.
She got up three hours early for coffee and breakfast. The days before the event require consuming a lot of calories.
“I definitely felt prepared, but it is hard to imagine a day that has so many moving parts and so much can happen,” Currier said. “So, it is a little scary.”
The race began at 6:25 a.m. Because of staggered starts, Currier started at 7 a.m.
Athletes have 17 hours to complete the challenge.
Currier finished the race in 12 hours and 33 minutes:
- Swim: 1 hour and 11 minutes
- Bike ride: 5 hours and 55 minutes.
- Run: just over 5 hours.
“I am typically the strongest in running, but this course had other plans for me,” she said, noting that leg was the most challenging.
“I was so happy to see that finish line. It took what seemed like forever to get there. There was definitely relief in there too, and I was ready to be done.”
Currier currently has no plans to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in 2024.
Want more information?
View the results for the entire Ironman World Championship field here.