Valley ironwoman ready for Hawaii
Sandra Wendel of Minden will join more than 2,000 athletes on Saturday in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to compete in the 37th Ironman World Championship.
The championship tests participants with a course that includes a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bicycle route and 26.2-mile marathon run. For Wendel, who will compete in the 60-64 age group, this is her third ironman but first attempt at Kona.
So, what is her goal?
“For me, every goal is just to finish, and to finish as well as I can,” she said. “You’re blessed if you do and don’t have mechanical problems with your bike or you don’t have stomach issues because of the food. To me, I think it’s just going to be a celebration.”
Wendel qualified for the world championships by winning her age group at the Ironman Mont-Tremblant on Aug. 18 in Quebec. She completed the race — a 2.4-mile swim, 112 cycling miles and 26.2-mile run — in a time of 13 hours, 20 minutes and 56 seconds.
Wendel logged a time of 1:26:43 for the lake swim, 6:545:04 for the cycling leg and then ran 4:46:00 for her marathon.
The possibility of qualifying for Kona was actually raised by her training partner and fellow Carson Valley triathlete, Lesley Tuggle, who has competed at the world championships nine times.
“It really wasn’t on my radar that it was possible,” Wendel said. “Lesley is the one who had faith planted the seed in my head that maybe I was ready.”
Wendel’s first ironman event was in 2010 in Arizona, where she placed fourth in her age group.
Anything can happen on a 140.6-mile ironman journey, she added.
“You can have a flat, you can develop a muscle problem, a lot of things can happen,” Wendel said. “We had perfect weather that day (at Ironman Mont-Tremblant), and it had been raining up until that day. It was funny, but I got sick four days before, I had a cold and actually pretty awful, so I was very fortunate to recover like I did.”