Lo­cal Tri-Ath­lete Qual­i­fies For Iron­man South Africa

The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By TERESA HAM­MOND tham­mond@oak­dale­leader.com

It all be­gan with a sim­ple “sprint” for Oak­dale’s Brian Fog­a­rty, but not on the track or in the wa­ter, both places which he called home for his high school ca­reer.

In 2009, Fog­a­rty tried his hand at a Triathlon Sprint dis­tance, an event which in­cludes a 1,500 me­ter swim, 40 km (24.9 mile) bike ride and 10k (6.2 mile) run. Not out to set the world on fire, he fin­ished.

“In ‘09 I wasn’t that se­ri­ous about it then,” Fog­a­rty said. “I did enough just to com­plete it then.”

From “09” as he says to present day, how­ever, some things have changed dras­ti­cally in terms of his com­mit­ment to the event of Triathlon. Ear­lier this year Fog­a­rty qual­i­fied for the 2018 Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onships in Port El­iz­a­beth, Nel­son Man­dela Bay South Africa. This event will cover a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run.

Fog­a­rty’s qual­i­fy­ing time of 4 hours, 43 minute was achieved in Ocean­side, Cal­i­for­nia dur­ing the Iron­man 70.3 Ocean­side event in April. Iron­i­cally, that’s the very same course on which he first com­pleted a half Iron­man in 2014.

“It was kind of fit­ting,” he said of the achieve­ment. “Any time I race, I’m all out. I’m com­pet­ing.

I just hap­pened to have a break­through race.”

The tran­si­tion, how­ever, from the guy who raced the sprint in 2009 to the cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier of 2018 took some time and a true mind­set of ded­i­ca­tion.

“I wanted some­thing to do,” Fog­a­rty said of when he first be­gan re-en­ter­tain­ing the idea of triathlons in late 2013.

He noted re­call­ing a guy from col­lege who be­gan rac­ing triathlons.

“Ev­ery­thing about him changed,” Fog­a­rty said. “You could phys­i­cally see it.”

So he pulled the trig­ger and com­mit­ted to the 2014 Ocean­side Iron­man Half Triathlon, 70.3 mile dis­tance.

“The rest is his­tory,” he said of his new­found love and hobby. “As soon as you start train­ing you just meet peo­ple. It’s such a nice thing, espe­cially in the Val­ley.”

Four years later since that first event, Fog­a­rty has com­pleted eight half triathlons and two full iron­man triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run). He now trains with Fun Sport Bikes Tri-Team out of Modesto.

“Every­body’s got their hobby,” he said. “I didn’t know. I thought I’d be one and done, but it’s kind of a high. There’s def­i­nitely a high, there’s a buzz.”

The tri-ath­lete shared con­nect­ing with oth­ers who en­joy the same sport just makes it all the bet­ter, not­ing the ca­ma­raderie and fun com­pet­i­tive spirit as a ma­jor ben­e­fit. He also en­joys eat­ing what­ever he likes, mi­nus the guilt. As a re­spon­si­ble com­pet­i­tive ath­lete how­ever, he’s also mind­ful of his nu­tri­tional in­take for op­ti­mal per­for­mance. Not one to fol­low fad di­ets, Fog­a­rty cites my­plate.gov as a solid re­source for a nu­tri­tional guide.

Nat­u­rally equally im­por­tant as food, yet more time con­sum­ing is the train­ing for such an event.

“There’s just as much train­ing for a half and a full, just dif­fer­ent by way of speed. There’s a lot of speed work, en­durance work and you vary it. If you’re se­ri­ous about it, im­prov­ing and be­ing com­pet­i­tive you have to do all of them,” he said of the swim, bike, run com­po­nents three times each a week.

Yet with that said, Fog­a­rty notes life bal­ance as well as friend­ships made as an im­por­tant pri­or­ity to him.

“Bal­ance is im­por­tant to me,” he said. “Fam­ily is im­por­tant to me. It’s a lot of fun, but main­tain­ing bal­ance is im­por­tant.”

Look­ing for­ward to South Africa and the honor of run­ning in the Cham­pi­onships in early Septem­ber has prompted Fog­a­rty to re-eval­u­ate some goals.

“The end goal is to qual­ify for Kona World Cham­pi­onship,” he said. “I would love to visit every con­ti­nent in my life­time. So, I think a fun way to do that would be to race on every con­ti­nent.”

For now his sights are set on the travel abroad and the op­por­tu­nity this hobby has brought him.

“I’d love to PR,” he said of look­ing to set a per­sonal record in the Cham­pi­onship race. “I don’t know if I’m quite at that level of fit­ness. It’s just ex­cit­ing.”

PHOTO CON­TRIB­UTED

Emerg­ing from the bay af­ter a 1.2 mile swim and com­plet­ing the first of three events in the Iron­man Half Ocean­side in April, Brian Fog­a­rty would con­tinue on for a 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile half marathon with a to­tal fin­ish time of 4:43.

PHOTO CON­TRIB­UTED

Oak­dale’s Brian Fog­a­rty just shortly af­ter learn­ing of his qual­i­fi­ca­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the 2018 Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onship in South Africa this Septem­ber. The for­mer high school swim­mer be­gan com­pet­ing in triathlons for hobby in 2014.

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