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December 10, 2008

Local women compete in Florida Ironman Triathlon

One of the world's most grueling competitions may be called the Ironman Triathlon, but Bonnie Hallinan of Danvers and Patty Loubris of Beverly leave no doubt that the name could be changed to Iron-Woman.

The North Shore women competed in their second career Ironman Triathlon and have no intentions of stopping in the near future.

"Well, I like to be active and it gives me a goal to work towards so I am never bored with it," Hallinan said.

The Ford Ironman Triathlon — held in Panama City, Fla. — consists of a rigorous 2.4-mile swim, a lengthy 112-mile bike ride, and if you're not tired enough, a regulation 26.2-mile marathon run.

"When I got to the finish line I couldn't walk too well," Patty Loubris said, laughing. "Going up and down stairs was quite a challenge for a week, but other than that I felt pretty good."

The two women started training together for a regular sprint triathlon about seven years ago, and four years later got the urge to compete in the grueling endurance triathlon.

"I have always had a thrill for endurance," Loubris said, "I can run and bike forever but I just can't do it very fast. The ironman just felt right for me."

After their first ironman in Lake Placid, New York (summer of 2007) the two women — enthralled with the idea of competing — signed up for the Florida challenge.

"The weather was going to be nice and I loved the idea of an ocean swim — it's just a different aspect," Hallinan said.

The less than lenient training began early in March, so there was only seven months to prepare for what seems like a lifetime during the race.

"Our training probably peaked at about 20-22 hours a week, which is extremely time consuming with a full-time job," Loubris said.

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