Members of Team Bricks Multisport took on and conquered the ultimate triathlon test on Nov. 6, the Ford Ironman Florida.


Just two weeks ago, three local triathlon athletes took on the greatest test their sport has to offer, the ultimate race that combines a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run, marathon distance.

The catch is, there’s a time limit to finish the race, meaning not everyone crosses the finish line, and that locals and Team Bricks Multisport members Jess Manning, Chris Hurd and Chris Nutter visited the Ford Ironman Florida on Nov. 6 not knowing if they’d be coming back with positive tales to tell.

As it was, all three crossed the finish line, claiming the right to call themselves Ironmen and shared their experiences of the long, grueling day.

Jess Manning
Time: 11:09:56
Finishing place: 480th of 2,402 overall; 63 of 204 in age group 30 to 34

Q What was your favorite part?
A The obvious answer is the finish. But the part I got the most emotional on was coming into transition on the bike. To have had the bike kick my butt so bad last year and end up with a [time of] 7:17, then to set the goal of breaking six hours and come in at 5:57, I was really emotional and excited.

Q What was the toughest part?
A I had to run the first half of the marathon without any nutrition. The first six miles I averaged like 7:45 [per mile], but the next six were in the tens because I got about halfway out and could feel myself losing my mojo. At the halfway point, I got my bag with my gels and got righted again. [Miles] six to 13 were really tough though.

Q What were you thinking when you crossed the finish line?
A The combination of having the time that I wanted, my wife was there this year and having loved ones at the finish line does something for you I can’t put into words. I got to see [my wife] constantly. She actually sacrifices a lot for me to do this. It was so neat to have her there. This year was a much sweeter experience.

Q Would you do it again?
A Definitely not this upcoming year. But it’s going to be pretty hard to keep me away from there in 2012.

Chris Hurd
Time: 12:37:35
Finishing place: 1,167th of 2,402 overall; 208 of 358 in age group 35 to 39

Q What was your favorite part?
A The swim was by far my favorite part of the race. But the best part of the day was the support from my family and my girlfriend. The support I got from them was amazing. Every time they saw me they were excited and jubilant. When I was running, I ran to get back to them again so they knew I was all right.

Q What was the toughest part?
A The second quarter of the run. At that point I just had legs hurting, wondering if things would hold up. At that point your mind is starting to ask, “Should you really keep running or should you walk a little?” So I walked a little, but when I got back to my mom and girlfriend, all of a sudden I felt rejuvenated and felt I could run some; having that support from them really helped. But already running for more than an hour and having been on the course for eight or nine hours with so much more still to go, that was tough.

Q What were you thinking when you crossed the finish line?
A I haven’t even thought about putting it into words. I all of a sudden felt like I had the energy that I had at the beginning. I set out to complete a task that I didn’t know if I could do it. There are tons of opportunities for the challenge to beat you, and when you cross the finish line you realize you met every challenge face-to-face and completed the goal. It’s really indescribable.

Q Would you do it again?
A When I do something new I don’t want to get caught up in the excitement of the moment. That’s a personal preference. I like to try other things and see what I want to do differently. So I have no plans to do it again, but I would do it again in the future if situations and opportunities aligned for me to do it.

Chris Nutter
Time: 14:44:01
Finishing place: 1,951st place of 2,402 overall; 348 of 403 in age group 40 to 44

Q What was your favorite part?
A My favorite part of it was the scene on the beach in the morning. It was ridiculous. There were about 2,500 people lined up, then with family members and friends there were close to 10,000 people. That was intense. I also enjoyed the first part of the run getting to see everybody.

Q What was the toughest part?
A The toughest part was the second turnaround on the bike, about mile 60 or 70 out, and I knew I still had 50 miles to go. The wind was against us at that point and I had to get over the hump there.

Q What were you thinking when you crossed the finish line?
A I don’t know how many more experiences in life can be like reaching the finish chute of an Ironman. Everyone is screaming and high fiving. And in my finish I had the whole chute to myself. It was pretty special.

Q Would you do it again?
A I signed up to do it again next year. I got down there this year and hadn’t even done the thing yet and I signed up [for next year].

Email Brian Citino at brian.citino@doverpost.com