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Glenn Pursley, Published July 13 2013

Fargo’s Stusynski trained six days a week for 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon


Scott Stusynski could see thousands of people gathered at the finish line. He could hear the announcer calling the names of previous finishers. He could see the giant clock keeping time above his head and he knew in a few more seconds, he would be the next Ironman.

Stusynski, a Karlstad, Minn., native now living in Fargo, competed in his first Ironman triathlon in June at the Ironman Coeur d’Alene event in Idaho. He finished with a time of 11 hours, 44 minutes and 19 seconds.

“It’s almost surreal,” said Stusynski, referring to his name being called as he crossed the finish line. “You got thousands of people around you cheering, you can see the clock with your time and you can hear the guy calling the people in front of you Ironman. It’s a pretty cool feeling, it’s like you’re running on air.”

An Ironman triathlon includes the same three events as a regular triathlon, but the distances for each portion are much more intense. Participants must complete a 2.4-mile swim, followed by 112-mile bike ride and finish off with a 26.2-mile marathon run.

Each Ironman has a

17-hour time limit to complete all three events. Participants have 2 hours, 30 minutes to complete the swimming portion, 8 hours, 10 minutes for the bike ride and 6 hours, 30 minutes for the marathon finish.

Stusynski finished the 140.6-mile race well under the allotted time. He completed the swimming portion in 1:19:25, the biking leg in 1:51:24 and ran the marathon in 4:04:46. He ranked 93rd in his age division and 470th overall out of 2,400 participants.

“It was unbelievable,” Stusynski said. “It’s probably the most challenging one-day event that you can do.”

After graduating from North Dakota State University with a master’s degree in business, Stusynski soon discovered he had a knack for endurance sports and decided it was time to set a new goal.

“My first goal was the Fargo Marathon,” Stusynski said. “I completed that and knew I could swim and bike, so I started doing the smaller sprint triathlons.”

A sprint triathlon is the shortest distance (16 miles) of the four types of triathlons. The Ironman is the longest and below that is the half-Ironman (70.3 miles) and Olympic length, or standard triathlons (31.3 miles).

With a few triathlons under his belt, Stusynski decided to begin working toward his new goal of becoming an Ironman.

The training needed to meet the physical requirements for such a lengthy event, but staying true to a strict diet and training schedule can prove to be difficult.

“I think the training is the most grueling, because you’re doing it six days a week,” Stusynski said. “The only way you could complete (the race) is through your training. Getting those training runs, bikes and swims in is the hardest part.”

Stusynski ran at least five miles on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, while squeezing in nine hours of cycling and two hours of swimming on the day in which he doesn’t run.

Monday was his only day off.

“You just try to train as tough and as much as possible in each event,” Stusynski said. “You’ve got to do all three.”

Being dedicated and devoting time and effort into accomplishing a goal isn’t something new for Stusynski. And that’s why he plans on running in the Ironman Wisconsin event in Madison come September.

And having already earned the title of Ironman, Stusynski has yet another prestigious event on his radar.

“I’m going to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon at the Fargo Marathon in May, and that’s another grueling process,” said Stusynski, who will need to run the marathon in 3 hours, 10 minutes to qualify for Boston.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549