Ketchum's Scott Tucker, 48, is one of the lucky 1,800 triathletes headed for the big daddy 34th Ford Ironman Triathlon World Championship Oct. 9 at Kona, Hawaii.
Tucker qualified for the Kona Ironman by finishing third in his 45-49 age class during the 28th annual Subaru Ironman Canada staged on a wet and cool Sunday, Aug. 29 at Penticton, British Columbia.
It was the first Ironman distance triathlon for the director of the running division of Scott USA.
With a finishing time of 9:57:32, Tucker broke the 10-hour mark for the 140.6-mile (226-kilometer) course and was ranked 86th overall. His splits were 58:51 for the swim, 5:23:57 bike and 3:28:06 run. He spent no more than four minutes in each of his two transitions.
Tucker made steady progress in his class and in the field, saving his best for last on the 26.2-mile marathon run. He was ranked 205th overall and 19th class after the swim, then moved up to 114th and 6th on the bike, 86th and 3rd on the run.
He said, "My run time was 3:28, just slightly faster than my plan of 3:30. I was a couple of minutes back of second place and 17 minutes back of first. Despite racing strong, I disintegrated into a shaking heap five minutes after crossing the line. The doctor said it was dehydration.
"I have five weeks to recover, do some training and then rest up for the next one. I'm super psyched. I'd like to thank all of you who have helped me prepare. And, of course, thanks to my spouse and kids for being supportive and accommodating of my training all day and every, every weekend over the past year."
Victor Zyemtsev (8:32:28) of the Ukraine and American Meredith Kessler (9:13:46) were Penticton winners. It was Zyemtsev's seventh win and the first for Kessler. There were a record 2,780 athletes starting in Okanagan Lake with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile marathon ending in downtown Penticton.
Tucker did his first triathlon in 1980, then did several in 1986—but no full Ironman distances.
He got back into triathlons last summer after being talked into entering the Redfish Triathlon. Said Tucker, "I was almost as cold after the bike segment of Ironman Canada as I was after the bike at Redfish last year. Cold rain and wind!"
After last year's Emmett Triathlon, Tucker was hooked again on triathlons and began training for 2010 Ironman Canada. He raced the St. George Triathlon this past May and did the Boise 70.3 Triathlon.
He attended last year's Kona Ironman working for Scott Sports and promoting its new line of performance running shoes. And this year, he has qualified to compete.