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Need for speed
Scott Poteet, the Cadet Squadron 02 air officer commanding, races toward the transition point for the marathon portion of the Ironman World Championship Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Poteet was selected to represent the Air Force in this year's competition. It was the second time he competed in the world championship race in Kona. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy)
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Academy Airman completes Ironman

Posted 10/12/2010   Updated 10/12/2010 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

10/12/2010 - KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii -- The air officer commanding for Cadet Squadron 02 at the Air Force Academy completed the Ironman World Championship here Saturday.

Scott Poteet finished the race ranked 225th among more than 1,800 competitors in the race, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 110-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, and finished 38th in his division.

"I'm very pleased with how I did," he said. "As expected, it was a tough race. I'm really happy and was excited to represent the Air Force and it was a great experience overall."

Poteet was one of nine racers chosen to represent their military service, with at least one representative present from each service. He came in second behind Army competitor Robert Killian and just in front of his longtime friend and Navy competitor Scott Jones.

"I was about eight minutes behind Scott at the turnaround time on the bike," he said. "And at the end of the bike, I cut that down to about five or six minutes. Scott took off pretty quick on the run and I decided to conserve my energy. The Army competitor and I took off about the same time. Later I was able to catch up with Scott and we actually ran together for a few miles. I felt a little stronger and I pushed on ahead."

It wasn't to last, though. Poteet hit the proverbial wall at the most inopportune time.

"I hit a wall at Mile 24," he explained. "It was my only wall during the race, which was nice, but it happened to be at the end which was the worst possible time for that to happen."

The weather in Kona was a major concern for Poteet. This was his second world championship at Kona, and he knew the weather could be unpredictable with the heat, humidity and wind.

The weather was great at start time with a temperature of around 71 degrees. However, as the day went on, the temperature spiked into the mid 80s. There was a mild breeze throughout most of the race until the marathon portion, when the wind began gusting.

"With the elements in Hawaii, it's never an easy race," Poteet said. "But the wind was definitely a factor; it was probably the worst I've ever experienced. There were even accidents out on the course where the wind actually picked people up and blew them over during their run."

But his training at the Academy helped him with the windy conditions.

"The heat and humidity weren't really something I could train for while in Colorado, but it definitely helped concerning the wind," Poteet said. "There were some people there who were really having a hard time, but I was able to push through it."

Poteet finished with a solid time of 9:39:05, which was right around where he planned on finishing. And after more than nine hours of constant exertion, he was more than happy to be finished.

"The last mile is a downhill trek, and there's just a build of the suspense and excitement at the end," he explained. "It doesn't matter how you feel at that point; the crowd rejuvenates you, and the adrenaline just take you through to the finish.

"There's no other finish like the finish at the world championship. This is the only sport where there are more people there for the last finisher than there are for the winner. There was a ton of people there at midnight cheering those last competitors across the line. There's nothing as inspiring as watching that."

Poteet's exertion put him in the medical tent at the end of the race. This was his 10th Ironman, and he's ended up in the medical tent for eight of them.

"It's becoming a bit of a trend," Poteet said with a laugh. "I just don't ever want to feel like I had something left when I finished. I want to use it all out there on the track."

For now, it's all about recovery for Poteet.

"Recovery is a bit of an ordeal following these races," he said. "For the first couple of days, I've eaten anything and everything I can get my hands on just to replenish my system. I'm also taking about a week off from training to give my body some time."

But you can't keep a guy like Poteet down for long.

"I'm already feeling an itch to get back out there and train," he said. "I've already got plans for a couple other competitions coming up next year. I've got to start training."

One of those competitions is the Armed Forces championship Olympic distance triathlon in April. For now, Poteet is happy with the title "Ironman."

"This was great," he said. "I can't wait to come back next year."

10/16/2010 1:38:45 AM ET
What was his time
Jack Craigie, Los Angeles CA
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