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Evangel University alumni, faculty chair compete in Ironman competition

November 14, 2012 | Chase Replogle

He may not fly in a cool red suit or fight aliens with The Avengers, but Dr. Keith Hardy has earned the title of Ironman.

Hardy, chair of Evangel University’s Department of Kinesiology, recently competed in the Redman Ironman Triathlon in Oklahoma City, an event that required him to swim, bike and run a total of 140.6 miles.

Competitors also included two former Evangel track athletes and kinesiology grads — Krista Edwards ’03 and Jason Parr ’06. All three finished second place in their divisions.

Dr. Keith Hardy

Dr. Keith Hardy is chairman of the Department of Kinesiology at Evangel University.

“The feeling you get is overwhelming, whether you finish in 10 hours or 17 hours,” says Hardy, who has completed three Ironman events. “All the time spent training, typically 2-4 hours a day for a year, has its reward when you finish the distance.”

A full Ironman competition includes 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running.

According to Hardy, less than 1 percent of the U.S. population competes the full distance, making it especially unusual for three Evangel grads to compete together in the same event.

However, the Redman Ironman competition was not the first time for Hardy and Edwards to race together. In fact, she was initially responsible for piquing Hardy’s interest in triathlons.

“Krista got into shorter triathlons back in 2004 and talked me into doing one. Later, we decided to train for a year to do a full Ironman together,” Hardy says. “After we completed Ironman Arizona, Jason became interested in competing, too.”

Edwards owns Extra Mile Fitness in Springfield. Parr is a teacher and coach at Park Hill High in Kansas City.

At Evangel, Hardy’s competitive spirit serves as motivation for students and athletes alike.

“The science behind the Ironman training, and what happens in the body in rehabilitation, is applicable to all of the majors in the Kinesiology Department — athletic training, pre-physical therapy, physical education, recreation and personal training.”

“These races help our department promote fitness and healthy lifestyles,” says Hardy.

WRITTEN BY: Anna Lester,  junior communication studies major at Evangel University

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