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Manlius: First-time Ironman participant finishes race with time to spare

An athlete at heart, Suzanne Buck of Manlius has been a runner for almost two decades. She competed in her first-ever triathlon just five years ago and had since worked her way to competing in Ironman USA held July 20 annually at Lake Placid -- home of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Although Buck describes herself as an average person, completing the Ironman triathlon is anything but ordinary. The endurance race includes 2.4 miles of swimming in Mirror Lake, 112 miles on bike and a full 26.2 marathon run.

"I finished at 14 hours and 28 minutes -- much faster than I thought," Buck said, still beaming.

The cutoff for Ironman is 17 hours.

Buck was one of more than 2,000 people participating in the challenge, with 32 locals among the competitors, including another Manlius resident, Rick Cote.

"He's the one who I spoke with who really inspired me to sign up," Buck said. "He did my whole training program for me."

Starting in January, Buck trained seven days a week for 31 total, swimming at least twice a week, biking four, and running two to three times in a one-week span.

"I would build for three weeks and then I would have a rest week where I would cut the miles in half," she said.

By the end of her program, she was swimming at 4,000 yards, biking 100 miles and running 16-mile stretches.

Meanwhile, Buck was also taking care of two young children alongside her supportive husband Rob, working as a school nurse in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District, and filling in at an area dermatology office.

How'd she do it? Well, to start, she had a close friend with whom she went the distance. Basically, her friend Tracy trained the entire program with Buck, without actually signing on the sport herself.

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