(Editor's note: Keith McCann recently finished first in his age division in the Ironman Triathlon held in Oklahoma City. His wife, Gerri, is the journalism teacher at Manila High School. As a project, she had her journalism students write an article about the Ironman competition. Twenty students participated and the students chose the best five for The Town Crier staff to pick one for publication. The top five writers were Alison Shotwell, Trey Wells, Jenni Wilbanks, Josh Henderson, and Tanner Smith. It was difficult to pick only one, so excerpts from each were used. Mr. McCann is inspiring the young students in physical fitness and Mrs. McCann is inspiring them in their writing skills.)
The Ironman Triathlon is a competition where most men dream to compete but for 60-year-old Keith McCann of Manila, it became a reality.
On Sept. 20, 2008, in Oklahoma City, McCann not only completed every inch of the 140.6 miles of events, he won first place in his age group and came in 21st overall with a time of 12 hours and five minutes. Approximately, 130 competitors entered the race with only 112 competitors able to complete it.
The Ironman Triathlon consisted of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running.
McCann maintains his fitness all the time but started to intensify his training in March to prepare for the September event. On several occasions, as part of his training, he rode his bike to Jonesboro, swam for an hour at the Trim Gym then rode his bike back.
McCann is a second time Ironman competitor, completing his first Ironman at a slower pace of 12 hours and 50 minutes due to a run-in with hypernutremia, which is a condition that results from over hydration. The first Ironman helped McCann to prepare physically and mentally for his second Ironman.
McCann competed in 90 degree weather to become the first true Ironman from Manila. McCann's commitment to physical fitness inspires his community and makes Manila proud.
McCann's daughter, Sherry Duffell, accompanied her father to Oklahoma where she not only supported McCann but also volunteered at the Ironman. Duffel helped with the swim by aiding the swimmers in removing their wetsuits and she also manned an aid station at which runners and cyclists are able to get food and drinks.
So, who will be our next Ironman?