Kristin Hannon’s weekdays typically start about 4 a.m. She’s running, swimming, biking or strength training, all before going to work at 8 a.m.
But Hannon isn’t a professional athlete. She’s a deputy clerk in the Columbia County Clerk of Superior Court’s office.
Hannon, a Harlem resident, has dedicated nearly a year to training for today’s fourth annual ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta triathlon, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim down the Savannah River, a 56-mile bike ride into South Carolina and a 13.1-mile run through downtown Augusta.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Hannon said. “I know it’s going to be challenging. I know it’s not going to be pretty. But the high I get from being finished, it’s exciting..”
Hannon’s triathlon journey began with spin classes at the Family Y about two years ago. An influential and persuasive teacher convinced her to participate in a boot camp, then competitions like 5K runs.
Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers, who competed in the Augusta Ironman in 2010 and 2011, was one of those who encouraged Hannon to sign up for the half-Ironman.
“She’d been running and bicycling and stuff like that,” Myers said. “I basically just kept egging her on. ... I honestly didn’t think she’d do it.”
Hannon, who volunteered at last year’s event, put the medal around Myers’ neck when he crossed the finish line. Myers said he plans to be at the event to cheer her on this time.
“It’s hard,” he said. “Make no mistake about that. ... You can’t even described the fatigue.”
But he knows Hannon will meet her goal and cross the finish line.
Hannon, a 47-year-old grandmother of two, said she and her friend participated in a small spring triathlon and then ran a half-marathon in November. That’s when she decided to commit to the Augusta Ironman.
“We refer to it as our mid-life crisis,” Hannon said. “It was helping to maintain our weight. We kind of got off on the fact that we’re out there doing it.”
The triathlon was a personal goal Hannon set for herself at the same time her husband, Allen, committed to train for a full marathon. They both want to be healthy and do something fun.
Hannon said she’s participated in several sprint-length triathlons – a 5K run, 10-mile bike ride and 750-meter swim.
Hannon trains by herself most weekday mornings. She joins fellow competitors from Team in Training and TriAugusta Triathlon Club to do more intensive training on the weekends. In that group, Hannon said she’s found great friends.
Hannon said one of her biggest motivators is her 4-year-old grandson, Wyatt. He brags to his friends that his “Gammy” swims in the river that has snakes and crocodiles in it.
“I’ve had several races where Wyatt is there at the end cheering me on,” Hannon said.
She said she’s anxious to take on the biggest race of her life, but that doesn’t mean she plans to sit back and rest afterward.
“My next goal is to do 100 miles on the bike,” Hannon said. “A century ride.”