Ironman Comes To Tahoe

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RENO, Nev. -- More than 2,500 triathletes from around the world gather at Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley today. They have until midnight to finish the famed Ironman race.

"You couldn't pick a more inspirational place to hold a race that brings us so much inspiration," Sandy Hall, CEO of the North Tahoe Chambers CVB and Resort Association. "These people are absolutely amazing."

Triathletes who swim 2.4 miles, bike for another 12 and then finish off with a marathon run. They come from all over the world, 38 countries and all 50 states, travel to North Tahoe where they train and acclimate themselves for the big day.

"It wasn't just a weekend event and everybody just leaves and goes home; this is the kind of event where people really made the Tahoe lifestyle their own," Hall said.

It's a long way from home in Sweden for Asa Lundstrom. She's been training in Tahoe for three weeks in preparation of her sixth Ironman competition.

"it's probably one of the most challenging but probably one of the most scenic, Lundstrom said. "I haven't raced with so many climbs in a race before so I didn't know what to expect in my performance. I was just hoping that I could finish."

It all paid off, she placed first in the women's race.

"I'm not sure I got it yet because it feels a little bit unreal," she said. "I can be nothing but satisfied. I did my best every second so I am satisfied."

She also says it won't be the last that Tahoe will be seeing of her.

"People here in North Lake Tahoe are just so friendly and the training possibilities here are are really good.

According to North Tahoe chamber of Commerce, the competition has brought in $10,000,000 to $12,000,000 in this week alone.

"It has been one of those gifts that keeps on giving," Hall said. "We've had 12,000 to 15,000 come to this event."

People including athletes, families, spectators and volunteers, all of which is good news for resorts during the off-season.

Chris McDonald of Austin, TX taking first place overall today. Reno resident Liz Lyles was the number four finisher in the women's category. The Ironman competition will stay in North Tahoe for the next four years.