Ridge Spring man ready for Augusta's Half Ironman

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Thursday Sept. 10, 2009

Augusta, Ga--It might be the ultimate test of will and endurance, an Ironman competition. Later this month, Augusta will be hosting a half Ironman. For Ridge Spring's Paul Butler, it's more a case of mind over matter.

Swimming one point two miles, biking 56 miles, running 13 miles. This is what awaits Paul Butler and about 3000 other folks later this month.

"I had always thought about doing an ironman and always thought how impossible it sounded to me." said Paul Butler "I'd always been running and doing many, many different things, doing marathons, but I always wondered how you could do a marathon after riding a bike 112 miles."

Challenges are nothing new for the 67 year old Butler. He was a green beret in the Army and was part of adventure racing, which is a team event contested over days. Ironman and half Ironman events are a whole different beast.

"All the pros say just treat them as three different events. You're going to swim, then you're going to bike, and then you're going to run and treat them as three separate things that are not connected at all. And that really works for some reason, I'm not sure why." added Butler

Butler has traveled all over the world competing in similar events. Training for them is anything but easy as he found out his first time out.

"Well mentally, the first time because you don't know if you can do it and you don't know what can go wrong. I did everything wrong in New Zeland. The swim was great however on the bike I rode the entire 112 miles wihtout ever getting off. So that meant I had probably not hydrated enough. If I didn't have to get off the bike it meant I did not hydrate enough." said Butler

The 67 year old first competed in an Ironman at the ripe "young" age of 60. He's already competed in about 20 events world wide. There's still a big time thrill in each and every one.

"The attraction is crossing the finish, getting a medal and knowing you just accomplished another Ironman" said Butler "You'd think one would be enough but you get addicted."

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