‘Cacti’s’ Kaufman competes in Ironman competition

| October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments
Capt. Travis Kaufman, a physician assistant assigned to 2-35 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, competes during the cycling event during an Ironman competition at Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 2015. The Ironman competition consists of a 2.4 open ocean swim, a grueling 112 mile bike course, and a 26.2-mile marathon run to be completed in a single day. (Photos courtesy of FinisherPix.com)

Capt. Travis Kaufman, a physician assistant assigned to 2-35 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, competes during the cycling event during an Ironman competition at Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 2015. The Ironman competition consists of a 2.4 open ocean swim, a grueling 112 mile bike course, and a 26.2-mile marathon run to be completed in a single day. (Photos courtesy of FinisherPix.com)

3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

KAILUA KONA, Hawaii — Not every Soldier can consider oneself an Ironman athlete, as did Capt. Travis Kaufman, a physician assistant assigned to 2-35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, here, on Oct. 10.

Kaufman participated in the annual Ironman World Championship, which consists of a 2.4 open ocean swim, a grueling 112 mile bike course, and a 26.2-mile marathon run to be completed in a single day.

Thousands of contestants crowed the beach as Kaufman prepared to start of the first event.

“When the gun went off I stayed calm and got into a good rhythm on the swim out to sea with 1000 other competitors,” he said. “Before I knew it I was at the turn around and caught an elbow to the eye. It had to happen at least once, but didn’t shake me. I kept a good rhythm on the way back to the swim finish and could hear the noise of the crowd coming from the pier.”

After struggling ashore on the sandy beach, he was off to the next race.

Capt. Travis Kaufman, a physician assistant assigned to 2-35 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, finishes an Ironman competition at Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 2015. The Ironman competition consists of a 2.4 open ocean swim, a grueling 112 mile bike course, and a 26.2-mile marathon run to be completed in a single day. (Photos courtesy of FinisherPix.com)

Capt. Travis Kaufman, a physician assistant assigned to 2-35 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, finishes an Ironman competition at Kailua Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 2015. The Ironman competition consists of a 2.4 open ocean swim, a grueling 112 mile bike course, and a 26.2-mile marathon run to be completed in a single day. (Photos courtesy of FinisherPix.com)

“In transition I was a little dizzy as I threw on my cycling gear, and unracked my bike,” he said. “It was amazing to have so many people cheering as I raced to get on my bike. The heat was intense for the first 50 miles of the bike ride.”

He remained undaunted as the weather battled him during the cycling portion of the competition.

“It started raining about five miles from the turn around with strong winds, thunder and lightning,” he said. “On the way back to Kona from the bike turn around the rain pelted me in the face and the roads were slippery. Once the rain stopped the heat cranked back up. A punishing head wind started just after passing the airport into Kona. Those last 25 miles were agonizingly tough, but I was focused on my goal.”

He found the transition from cycling to the marathon was he was able to settle into a steady run.

“The cheering crowd gave me a huge boost of energy as I ran out of the bike to run transition,” he said. “My legs felt great, I gave a few shakas and smiled keeping my pace steady at an airborne shuffle. The run was hilly with intense heat going through the lava fields. When I made that last turn onto Ali’i Drive, I saw all the people lining the street cheering my name.”

As he neared the end of the run, he found numerous people celebrating his approach to the finish line.

“I gave every person I could a high five on the way through the finishing chute, stopped at the finish line and raised my arms in victory,” he said. “It felt amazing to cross that finish line and hear Travis Kaufman you are an Ironman.”

His family and children embraced him after finishing the grueling race, becoming the proudest moment for him, he stated.

“It was a tough day,” he said. “I fought through adversity and finished with a smile. It has been my dream for seven years to get to this race. As I reflect back on the day, I realize it wasn’t just about that one day, it was about my journey getting to the race and the impact it had on my family, friends and Soldiers around me.”

(Note: Capt. Travis Kaufman, physician assistant, 2-35th Inf. Reg., 3rd BCT, contributed to this article.)

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *