Lubbock native uses Ironman race to inspire others

He says it’s more than just a race
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 8:12 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Ironman 70.3 is the longest running Ironman race in Texas and one of the oldest in the nation. The swim, ride, and race competition happens right here in Lubbock. To many competitors, it’s more than a race.

Anthony Ysasaga, a four-time Ironman, says it all started because of a friend who felt he could use a distraction from life.

“I had a guy come up to me, a good friend of mine that was an Ironman coach and said, ‘Hey listen, you need to take your mind off of this, you need to do something productive, you need to get out of yourself.’ So, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea,’” Ysasaga said.

That is because Ysasaga has struggled with addiction and lost his daughter in a crash. Now, to him Ironman is more than a race.

“Ironman is about embracing difficulties, facing your fears, battling through tragedy and developing strength,” Ysasaga said.

Ysasaga says people in today’s world need a lot of hope, so he is using his story to inspire others.

“My overall goal is that if they can say, ‘You know what? If he did it, why can’t I,’” Ysasaga said.

The death of a loved one can be crippling but Ysasaga says his daughter would be proud of him.

“She taught me how to embrace, embrace life and so after she died I had a choice to make, I either needed to get busy living or get busy dying,” Ysasaga said.

He says this race is 60% physical and 40% mental. He is thanking his family for being his number one motivation.

“Once you run out of gas, you have to find your why,” Ysasaga said. “For me, you know, my family is such a big why because they’ve always supported me, they supported me during my addiction.”

His wife may just be the most proud. He will never forget that moment when he crossed the finish line to her cheering him on.

“She is the biggest, she is my biggest cheerleader,” Ysasaga said. “She is as loud of a human being as I’ve ever heard in my entire life and so she always says, ‘You did it! You did it!’”

There is someone else he says he owes a great deal to, his Ironman coach who just received a heart transplant. He is dedicating this race to him by giving his coach his medal.

Ysasaga says his son now wants to be an Ironman. His son told Ysasaga he was his biggest inspiration.

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