DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A local college student is about to compete in a rather exclusive event. She will be among the roughly 3,000 participants from around the globe in this month’s World Ironman Championship. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, she is competing to prove something to herself and people she plans to help in her career path.
“You need to move. You know, life’s a lot better when you move forward anyway,” said Megan Gibbons. No one will ever accuse her of not moving. The 28-year-old Clarks Summit native is getting in her final days of training for the World Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. “I find the hardest part about all of this is just finding the time,” she said.
Time is Megan’s worst enemy. The Misericordia University physical therapy graduate student juggles academic demands while training for an ironman triathlon that requires swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a 26.2 mile marathon. “I wake up probably around 4:15 and I tend to ride for an hour and a half or two hours. I fit in my run whenever I can. Swim three times a week.”
Misericordia University Physical Therapy Assistant Professor Laurie Brogan said, “I don’t know how she does it.” Ms. Brogan is Megan’s academic advisor in a department that advocates movement and physical activity. “Could probably cure the ills of the world if we could get more people active and she is just an uber-representation of our profession and, you know, what one person can do.”
Megan competed in her first ironman triathlon in July finishing first in her age bracket and qualified for the World Ironman Championship. “Maybe I’m a sucker for pain but anytime someone puts, like, a challenge in front of me I just want to beat it and to me an ironman sounded like the scariest challenge out there and that just made me want to do it the most,” she said.
Most of us will never be able to relate to the physical demands it requires to compete at such a high level. But Megan says the people she hopes most relate to her message are her future physical therapy clients. “They can trust that I’ve had the experience because I’ve done it so that I can relate to them which you know that only comes with experience,” said Megan who acknowledged it’s about pushing through barriers.
Megan will fly October 8 to Kona, Hawaii where the world ironman championship will take place October 13th. She still has another year before earning her graduate degree in physical therapy.