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IRONMAN World Championship

Army triathlete prepares for third IRONMAN

Published: 12:35PM September 19th, 2013
Army triathlete prepares for third IRONMAN

Courtesy photo

Eric Reid competes at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii in 2010.

When Eric Reid made a 2006 New Year’s resolution to get back in shape, he set his sights on competing in a triathlon.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord officer assigned to I Corps G3 almost drowned in his first attempt, but Reid stuck with it and found out he’s genetically predisposed for success in endurance sports. His hard work over the years has paid off; the All-Army triathlete is set to compete in his third IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Oct. 12.

“If you’re stubborn enough you can achieve things you thought might not be achievable,” Reid said. “I didn’t know I could do this, and then I was stubborn and good things happened.”

Since the first IRONMAN World Championship triathlon was conceptualized by a Navy officer in 1977, it has maintained a special identification with the military. Apart from the 1,800 slots available in the elite competition, when Reid first competed there were four (three male, one female) set aside for each branch of the military. Now only two slots (one male, one female) are reserved for each service.

Reid qualified for this year’s world championship at the IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) June 27 and also earned the separate Army slot. Not needing both, he Reid passed on the Army slot to the alternate, Joshua Horsager, an All-Army triathlete and Soldier stationed in Georgia.

He had already met Horsager at the 2013 Armed Forces Triathlon Championship at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., in June. The two Soldiers will compete together again in Kona in the 140.6-mile race; they will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.

Reid finished in the top six of the 40-to-44-year-old age group in Coeur d’Alene to secure a coveted trip to Kona.

“I wasn’t expecting to qualify,” he said. “I wasn’t as fit as I could have been or have been in the past. I think I got the most out of my fitness by being really smart and pacing myself.”

Reid has learned from his previous Kona appearances in 2008 and 2010 and is looking forward to seeing how far he can push himself in the 10-hour race.

At his first world championship, Reid said he was wide-eyed and didn’t do as well as he would have liked, but he still enjoyed the experience. Two years later as a battalion executive officer, he had a successful race despite limited training time.

This year the father of two young children had to be strategic with his training schedule. Reid is up six days a week before 5 a.m., and sometimes before 4 a.m. to run, bike and swim. Sundays are family days.

“I can go two to three months of losing sleep,” Reid said.

The Soldier of 17 years has been at JBLM for a year and had made connections on base that have helped him in his hobby of triathlons. Bruce Antonowicz, a JBLM swim instructor/trainer and triathlete, has helped train him in the pool.

This year Reid hopes to better his 280th-place finish at his last IRONMAN World Championship with a top 200 finish.

“I want to see how good I can get relative to my own abilities,” he said. “Everybody has a limit. I just want to know if I can reach that limit."