As the Ironman mantra suggests and a Rossland resident recently confirmed: “Anything is possible.”
Physician Susan Benzer reached her goal of completing and Ironman triathlon in Penticton in August, and took it one step further when she placed second in her age group and inadvertently qualified for the World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
The 50-year-old continued training for Kona, and competed in the event last month, finishing in 11th place in the women’s 50-54-age category, an incredible accomplishment for just her second triathlon.
The event, run on the lava landscape of the Big Island of Hawaii, is notorious for its rough-water swim, blistering heat, and punishing winds.
Following a rough open ocean swim, cyclists make their way along the Ka’ahumanu Hwy. where they are exposed to intense trade winds that buffet much of the exposed western and northern coast of the Big Island. The winds vary in intensity from steady to heavy blasts that can blow cyclists across the road.
Benzer came out of the 2.4 mile swim in one hour, 22.21 seconds, in 26th spot, but her strength on the bike brought her back into the pack as she finished the 212-mile sprint in ninth place with a time of 6:04:07.
She kept her momentum going and ran the 26.2 mile marathon in 4:22:18 to finish in 11th place in her category with a finishing time of 11:59:01.