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Iron in his veins
Nine hours and 47 minutes was all it took for junior Jonathan Fecik to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles at the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon in Idaho. He took first place in the 18-to-24 age group, and placed among the top five overall, earning a spot in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.
Originally from Lancaster, Pa., Fecik, who is double majoring in biology and english, first became motivated to race after his fourth grade teacher told her class about her experience racing in the Lake Placid Triathlon.
“She brought in all these things from the race, and I remember I thought it was so cool,” Fecik said.
Fecik began competing in eighth grade, starting out with a cycling race.
“I did horrible in the race,” Fecik said. “It was awful.”
After someone suggested trying a triathlon race, he figured, “it couldn’t be much worse then cycling.”
Fecik excelled at his first race and was recommended to pursue the Ironman Triathlon. However he could not train for an intense race, like the Ironman, on his own. Coach Holden Comeau then approached Fecik. He quickly began training with Comeau in anticipation of his next triathlon.
“I train anywhere from four to six hours a day, which adds up to about 24 hours a week,” Fecik said of his current training regimen. “Sometimes I have a bad week and I only get in 10 hours of training, but I try to stick to my training schedule as much as possible.”
Fecik became eligible to compete in the Ironman at the age of 18. He ran in his first race in Lake Placid in 2007. He was the youngest competitor at the time and finished the race in 12 hours and 20 minutes. Since then Fecik’s time has dropped by more than two hours, and he has staked a claim as first overall in Connecticut.
In terms of the race itself his favorite place to race is Lake Placid, N.Y.
“I like Lake Placid because the scenery is awesome and the path of the race is well marked and easy to follow,” he said.
Unlike most athletes, Fecik doesn’t listen to any pump up music before he competes.
“It’s a long race and I need to be focused for the entire time,” he said. “Music beforehand would be more of a distraction. For example, I have to eat while I’m racing and it’s easy to lose track of time between when I ate and when I have to eat again.”
Fecik said he hopes to one day run professionally.
“You don’t win many prizes at my level, it would be nice, but it’s fun to race, it’s something I really enjoy doing,” he said.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, Fecik will be in Kona, Hawaii, competing in the Ironman World Championship. There will be 1,800 participants. The only way to get into the race is through a lottery or through qualifying events. Fecik has come far in his three years of competing in the Ironman, and he hopes his winning streak will continue in Hawaii.