Pair of local athletes qualify for Ironman race in Africa
Local products to race in Ironman 70.3 Worlds
In between her time working as an assistant media services director at the Austin Independent School District, Tiffany Saunders undergoes a stringent training schedule to prepare for her big race.
That includes squeezing in as much as 18 hours of training a week, including swimming up to two miles and biking up to two hours.
“You have to have a lot of strength to keep going,” Tiffany said. “That includes a lot of saying no to things like catching a movie or going out with friends.”
Saunders and her wife, Caitlin, will both participate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship race next weekend in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.
Ironman races are a grueling triathlon that includes swimming, biking and running.
The race on Saturday, Sept. 1, is expected to have more than 6,000 athletes from 100 qualifying races across the world.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime race for me,” Tiffany said. “You want to have your best races and have your best experience.”
Tiffany and Caitlin both grew up in Bay City, with Tiffany going to Bay City High School and Caitlin going to Van Vleck.
The couple met while racing in Ironman events in the Houston area, and then later got married.
“It’s a big boost to see (Tiffany) out there,” Caitlin said about the couple racing at events, although not together. “It’s always good to know she’s out there with you.”
Tiffany and Caitlin qualified at the Ironman 70.3 race at Buffalo Springs Lake near Lubbock on June 24. Caitlin finished fifth in the women’s 30-to-34 division with a time of 6:31:50, while Tiffany finished 13th in the women’s 40-to-44 divisions with a time of 7:08:12.
The top 15 of each class qualified for the world championship race, and the couple started making plans to take the long trek to Africa.
“It’s beyond words, like nothing that I’ve ever dreamed of,” Caitlin said. “I know people in (Bay City) are supportive of us.”