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Tvermoes Excels in Ford Ironman World Championship

By Laura Hall
December 2009

Brooke Tvermoes posed with her husband, Nicolai Tvermoes, after the race
Brooke Tvermoes posed with her husband, Nicolai Tvermoes, after the race. "I was essentially fifth in my age group in the world. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it's real," she said. (Photo courtesy of Brooke Tvermoes)

On October 10, Brooke Tvermoes, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Comparative Genomics Group(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/ltp/cg/index.cfm), finished fifth in her age class in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The grueling non-stop triathlon consisted of a 2.4 mile swim in the Kailua Bay, a 112 mile bike ride across the Hawaiian lava desert, followed by a 26 mile 385 yard run along the coast of the Big Island. Tvermoes finished the race in 10:30:43.

Even though she had trained all year in all sorts of weather conditions, the race was held on a day that tested her endurance. It was the hottest, most humid day they'd had in Hawaii on race day in 15 years, but Tvermoes was glad she participated. "It was amazing to be racing with the best Ironman athletes in the world. I was on the same course with the pros that we read about and watch on TV, and here they are just a few feet from me," Tvermoes said.

This triathlon(http://ironman.com/events/ironman/worldchampionship/) Exit NIEHS is considered the most prestigious in the world. Tens of thousands compete for 1800 spots. Anyone who finishes the race in 17 hours has won the right to be called "Ironman." Tvermoes qualified for her spot in the race by winning her age group in the Ford Ironman Arizona race in November 2008, with a course record time of 10:05. She was the second amateur female to finish.

Tvermoes plans to continue to compete in Ironman triathlons because of the sense of accomplishment it brings her. When she crosses the finish line, she declares, "It's all worth it -- all of it, all the hours of training, all the sacrifices you make to be there. The feeling is unbelievable." Tvermoes has advice for anyone interested in competing in triathlons - "You can do it. Start slowly and work into it." She also explained that being able to cope and adjust is important in triathlon competition. She maintained, "It's such a long day, something is bound to go wrong, and it's how you deal with those situations that makes or breaks your day."

Tvermoes excels in her work, as well as her sport. She won "Best Poster Presentation in Environmental Toxicology" on Science Awards Day (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2009/december/science-ira.cfm) on November 5.

(Laura Hall is a biologist in the NIEHS Laboratory of Pharmacology currently on detail as a writer for the Environmental Factor.)



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