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Marden Rehab Employee Finishes 140.6 Mile Ironman Event
Written by Darin Brown, General Manager   
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2:51 PM

Danielle Wassam, physical therapist at Marden Rehab in Woodsfield, recently accomplished something only an extremely small percentage of Americans do each year: she finished an Ironman Triathlon event. Wassam was able to complete the Ironman Florida course on Nov. 3 in a competition that drew 2800 participants. Wassam dedicated almost a year of her life to training but was glad to do it for what she calls a “life-changing experience.”

The Ironman Triathlon is a 140.6 mile long event held in more than a dozen venues world-wide each  year. The competition includes a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 marathon run.

One may think that competitors get days to cover all those miles, but instead the time limit is 17 hours with the competition beginning at 7 a.m. with required completion by midnight of the same day. Wassam said, “To do it in 17 hours, you have to move. There’s thousands of people each year that start and don’t finish due to the time restrictions.”

The competition began with a mass start (all 2800 competitors jumping in at once) of the swimming portion. The swim portion took place in the Gulf of Mexico, which was choppy due to recent storms. “It was probably the most intense experience of my life,” Wassam said of the veritable mosh pit that forms when thousands of bodies hit the water at the same time. While no one was hurt in the Ironman Florida swim, Wassam said that two or three people usually die during the swim portion, mostly due to cardiac events.

After the intense swim, Wassam and the other competitors spent a large chunk of the 17 hours on the bike ride, the longest leg of the Triathlon. Following the ride was a marathon run which most people wouldn’t be able to complete fresh, let alone after the long swim and bike ride. At the end, Wassam was able to finish with 2400 other world-class athletes within the time limit.

Needless to say, to be fit enough to finish the event, Danielle had to do extensive training. She said she trained  over a period of nine months for the event, training 20-25 hours a week while working a more than full-time job.

While training for such an event would be hard enough for any athlete, Danielle entered training with two hurdles to overcome. First of all, Wassam had not ridden a bike regularly since she was 10 years old and had very little swimming experience. Secondly, Wassam said, “I went into training nine months ago with a knee injury.” Fortunately, Wassam’s profession allowed her to make sure her knee would hold up to the strenuous training regiment. 


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