HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4) – The Ironman World Championship is happening Saturday, May 7 for the first time ever in Southern Utah. Athletes are getting ready to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.

Hurricane City Engineer, Arthur LeBaron is walking into his first Ironman World Championship, but Saturday he’ll be swimming, biking, and running a total of 140.6 miles on hilly terrain in the Southern Utah heat.

“It’s like piranhas in the Amazon, there’s a lot of people out there, there’s a lot of contact with your fellow athletes,” he says.

49-year-old LeBaron says he’s been training for this race since 2019.

“Coming to the check-ins, the swim start, it’s just exciting, you can’t do an event like this without having some self-doubt at some point,” he says.

It’s no easy treat, Ironman Champion, Julie Moss knows it all too well. At her first World Championship in Hawaii, she collapsed just a few feet from the finish line, managing 2nd place.

“I fell four times, the last time my arms now won’t even work and I started to crawl for the finish line,” she says.

She’s not competing this year after getting hip surgery, but she’ll be cheering on athletes, like LeBaron, from the sidelines.

“Just thinking about the things I’m grateful for, I’m grateful that I’m healthy, I’m grateful for my wife, my kids, my parents, and the whole community who puts this event on,” says LeBaron.

LeBaron says his goal is to finish the race in 13 hours and is coming into Saturday’s event feeling healthy and optimistic.