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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Hankens completes Ironman Triathlon

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cherokee's Iron(wo)man, Deb Hankens. Photo by Dan Whitney
Cherokee Washington High School guidance counselor and cross country coach Deb Hankens successfully completed the rugged 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship Triathlon held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 21.

Hankens' visit to our 50th state got off to a bit of a shaky start - literally. She flew to Hawaii on October 14, and the next day the island was hit with an earthquake.

Hankens was driving a car when the earthquake struck. She said that she was between 10 and 30 miles from the epicenter when it struck. She said she didn't know it was an earthquake initially, but knew something was wrong. Hankens said "it felt like a really strong crosswind," and also commented that "it felt like someone had taken the tires off the car and I was driving on the rims."

In this file photo, Ironman competitors swim across Hawaii's Kailua-Kona Bay. Photo from Wikipedia. d
After that rather rude welcome to the islands, Hankens, who was joined by eldest son Jeff during the week, really enjoyed her first Hawaiian experience.

She especially enjoyed swimming in the ocean, saying she has developed a passion for that. Hankens also said that she loves Iowa in July, when it is hot and humid, so she felt right at home in the muggy Hawaiian climate.

As for the race itself, Hankens said it was a "really neat experience from start to finish." She said at one point she was riding along, thinking "this is so cool," when it occurred to her that maybe she should put her head down and concentrate on the race. Hankens said it was "a long day, and certainly not an easy day," but she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Hankens said there was a parade of fantastic physical specimens at the competition, with "no one out of shape."

Hankens completed the first leg of the triathlon, a 2.4 mile swim across Kailua-Kona Bay, in a time of 1:30.55. She then rode the 112-mile bike ride from Keauhou to Hawi and back in 7:14.12 before completing the 26.2 mile marathon in 5:56.33. Her total time for the Ironman event was 14:41.40.

Hankens' time placed her 12th among the 55-59-year-old age group triathletes.

A taped version of the Hawaii Ironman will be shown on NBC-TV in December.


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