GILFORD — Pushing herself hard for a good cause, Kerin Fiore worried about finishing the Ironman 70.3 Timberman triathlon many times Sunday during the 1½-mile swim, and then during the 56 miles of cycling, and again during the 13.1-mile run.
Fiore, 41, of Bartlett, a pediatric occupational therapist, took up running when she turned 40, then last year she started swimming, training in Silver Lake and Crystal Lake near her home.
"I had done a smattering of 5K and 10K races, and I started swimming, so a triathlon seemed like a perfect idea as I turned 41," she said.
She wasn't sure which triathlon she would compete in until she received an email from Make-A-Wish New Hampshire, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. It asked her to compete in the Ironman competition, and she obliged.
With the help of her two daughters, she began raising money to sponsor her race. They held a raffle and fundraiser at the Flatbread Company in North Conway, and she emailed colleagues and family, asking for contributions.
But during the race, she found her muscles stiffening up, particularly during the final run, she said. She is recovering from a hip injury she suffered during training last weekend, which made things tougher.
"My muscles got tight, and it became very painful," she said.
"It was a matter of mind over matter, and I was thinking, there are lots of Make-A-Wish families who would love to see a finish line that they could reach to cure their loved ones, and I thought of my two girls, and I made it."
Fiore finished with a time of 5 hours, 55 minutes, 38 seconds, and after the race, after having extensive massages on her leg muscles, she relaxed and was proud. She had raised $2,400 for Make-A-Wish, which had a total of 70 participants in the competition and raised $92,000 at the event, according to Make-A-Wish officials.
"It was crazy pain, but I feel good now," she said. "My time wasn't bad for your average Joe, for someone who couldn't swim or ride a bike last year. It feels pretty good."
In its 13th year in Gilford, the Ironman 70.3 Timberman triathlon had 2,600 competitors. The triathlon was won by favorite Andy Potts of Colorado Springs, Colo., with a time of 3:53.
A Manchester doctor, Craig Widness, finished 12th overall and first in the 40-44 male division with a time of 4:12:50.
The women's winner was Melissa Hauschildt of Australia, with a time of 4:12:49. Concord's Amber Ferreira was the third woman to finish, coming in with a time of 4:26:54.