Storm Lake man to compete in Ironman Triathlon in New Zealand
Just on the name alone the Ironman Triathlon suggests it is one of the toughest sports in the world. And many, who compete, have been training their entire life to do so.
But that's not the case for USA's standout, Matt Hanson.
"When I was 16 I was challenged by a good mentor of mine to make a list of 50 goals for the next ten years."
It all started with a bucket list and the rest is history.
"On that list I put complete and Ironman Triathlon."
Although Matt Hanson was always a runner, for him it was mere recreation. It was a different sport that grabbed his attention.
"I actually wrestled and that was my number one sport up until college. I came to Buena Vista here to be a wrestler."
But now Hanson wonders where he could be if he had made running his sport.
"When I think back now, a little bit, it's like I wonder what I could have done if I would have had a little bit more time invested into running in college or high school even."
Shattering Ironman course records in 2014 at Chattanooga and 2015 in Texas, Hanson hopes to continue this momentum. This time, traveling halfway around the world to New Zealand.
"The next race is always the same game plan. It's always about executing to the best of my ability."
He leads the pack for USA and is seeded 5th in the men's division. There will be over 50 athletes in the professional field chasing over $75,000 in prize money. And Hanson has set his sights on the top of the podium.
"Once the gun goes off, I want to beat them."
A former professor at Buena Vista College, Hanson's journey to the pros wasn't necessarily intentional.
"I spent three years just as an amateur just trying to figure out what was going on. I didn't really have any aspirations of going professional when I first started."
And while rewarding, it's been a journey of sacrifices.
"Some days it's really hard, I won't lie. When Matt's training for a month at a time away, it's trying to keep a long distance relationship going," said Matt's wife, Ashley Farmer-Hanson.
But the end result makes it all worth it.
"The feeling you get when you cross the finish line is just a euphoric moment."
Hanson left this past Thursday for New Zealand. He will race on March 5th.