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The Metzls: Racing against one another

The Metzl brothers are still standing at the end of the triathlon.  

From Debra Goldschmidt
CNN Medical Unit

LAKE PLACID, New York (CNN) -- The challenge: a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and topped off by a 26.2-mile marathon run.

The Metzl brothers -- Jordan, Jamie and Josh -- may be just the challengers for such an event.

"It's the hardest endurance event you can do," Jordan Metzl said. "It really tests your entire mind, your body, every faculty you have."

Jordan is a sports medicine physician in New York. Jamie works on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington. Josh starts medical school in the fall.

"We were always encouraged to do whatever it was we wanted to do," Jordan said. "There was never a goal that was too high or too crazy."

The latter is how some would describe the Ironman Triathlon the Metzls completed July 28.

"I think the Ironman, everybody thinks, is kind of crazy," said Kurt Metzl, the trio's father. "Why would anyone do that to themselves?"

But Jamie is philosophical about the hard work.

Ironman prizes
Participants in the Lake Placid Ironman compete for $50,000 and a qualifying position for the Hawaii Ironman.

Source: Ironman North America

"It's an extreme event, where success or failure are within you as a person," he said, noting that "140.6 miles is a really long way when you drive it, even when you fly it."

A successful family by any standard, with physician parents steering the ship, the Metzls are typical of people seeking such as challenge, experts say -- Type A personalities who want to push themselves to new limits, having already done marathons.

"There's an intensity, and they don't wimp out," said Marilyn Metzl, the men's mother. "When you start something in our family, you're expected to finish it."

And the brothers are challenging each other, too.

"We have a friendly sibling rivalry, which I think inspires us and pushes us," Jamie said, "but at the end of the day we're all really rooting for each other."

The Ironman is the ultimate competition. It started when a group of the elite Navy SEALs wanted to see who was the strongest.

There are 15 Ironman competitions worldwide, drawing more than 22,000 athletes last year. The majority of them are amateurs.

For the Metzls, the Lake Placid Ironman was just another goal.

"The first few marathons they came home exhausted," Marilyn recalls. "After awhile they came home saying, 'Piece of cake, I could've run another one.' So I knew it wouldn't be long before they took another challenge for themselves."

Ironman fact
The first Ironman was held on February 18, 1978, in Hawaii.

Source: Ironman North America

But for these brothers, it was really about the camaraderie and as well as the challenge.

And for all the athletes, it was really about completing the course. Ironman officials say 93 percent finish.

Finishing is what the Metzls thought about as they started the course. They had 17 hours to complete it but predicted they would finish in 12 to 13 hours.

Their final times:

  • Jamie came in first with a time of 12 hours, 13 minutes and 53 seconds.
  • Jordan is next with a time of 12 hours, 40 minutes and 48 seconds.
  • And Josh was welcomed to the finish line by his brothers at 12 hours, 58 minutes and 29 seconds.
  • "You can train all you want, but the race isn't about your body," Jamie said.

    "I feel great," said Jordan. "It's the hardest day. Twelve and a half hours in pain."

    "Once you've started something you have to finish it. That's what keeps you going," Josh observed.

    And quite an inspiration for us all.


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