She’s an Ironman

Agnes Hapka

September 6, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — After 10 years of triathlons, Brenda Scott decided it was time to go for the big one, and become an Ironman.

As principal of an alternative high school, Scott is no stranger to challenges. The Point Pleasant resident and principal of the Cabell County Alternative School decided to compete in her first full-length triathlon this past August 28. She traveled to Louisville, Ky., for the event.

The Ironman contest in Louisville is the full version, Scott said, as opposed to the sprint, olympic or half-marathon. Scott said that triathlon races vary in length, and she has worked her way up to the maximum length — the running portion is marathon-length, or 26.2 miles.

“The race in Louisville is the closest one,” Scott said.

Scott has been an active, outdoor person all her life, and before she began to undertake triathlons she ran with a group from Gallia County.

“They’ve been running together for 20 years,” Scott said, “They are the ones who got me into biking, and they said, ‘you should do triathlons’.”

Scott said she bikes with Velo Gallia —another Gallia County-based group. Velo Gallia is a Facebook group that enables local bicycle enthusiasts to meet like-minded people and set up times to ride together.

The race also involves a 2.4-mile swim in the Ohio River. Scott, who has been a swimmer ever since she can remember, practices her swimming at the University of Rio Grande, or the city pool in Gallipolis when they have their summer morning hours.

“As a principal I get four weeks off, and the city pool opens early for laps, so I could practice for a couple of hours a day. It was so nice, swimming outside.”

Scott said she’d love to try the Hawaii Ironman someday.

“You have to qualify for the Hawaii race,” Scott said. She said she thinks she might like the Hawaii bicycle portion better.

“I think the Hawaii one is flatter; I’d like to do one with a flatter course next time. The bike course in Louisville is really hilly,” Scott said. “I feel like I wasn’t well enough prepared for those hills.”

Race day is a long day, Scott said. A 2.4-mile swim in the Ohio River is followed by 112 miles on the bike, followed by a full marathon … that is 26.2 miles.

“It’s 140.6 miles altogether,” Scott said. “You had to be done by midnight with the whole thing.”

Scott said that common problems during something as strenuous as a triathlon include passing out and vomiting.

“That thought scared me worse than anything,” she said, adding that she didn’t encounter any major difficulties. For one thing, she said, she asked the advice of those with more experience.

“I had talked to people in Huntington before doing it, and I think the main thing is making sure you’re fueled correctly, and properly hydrated. When people get dehydrated, they lose their minds.”

“My goal for this Ironman was to finish in the required time — without getting sick — which, luckily, I did,” said Scott.

Scott said that in spite of its difficulty, an Ironman is still within reach of the average person.

“I think anybody could do it. Anyone who is physically capable of running, riding a bicycle and swimming, could at least attempt an Ironman,” said Scott. “I used to think there’s no way, but it is doable.”

Scott said that the people of Louisville stood in the streets to welcome and congratulate competitors at the end of the grueling day.

“They high-fived everybody,” said Scott. “It was great. They said, ‘Brenda Scott: you are an Ironman!’ That was pretty cool.”