Ironman 70.3 races through New Orleans - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Ironman 70.3 races through New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The athletes smiled as they crossed the finish line, the end of more than 70 difficult miles.

"The swim was nice, the bike was a little bit windy," says Michael Curtain of Panama City. "There was a couple times where a little scary moments where it kind of took the front wheel and I thought I was going down but other than that it was pretty good. The run, it started to get hot and that wasn't nice at all, so there was a little bit of cloud cover, a little bit of shade but for the most part, it was brutal."

Many competitors in the Ochsner Ironman 70.3 swam, cycled and ran with heavy hearts, thinking of those who didn't make it to City Park Sunday morning.

Atlanta firefighter Frank Guinn died Friday while training in New Orleans East.

Witnesses told New Orleans Police a truck rear-ended the 36-year old as he biked with his brother-in-law.

Guinn died at the scene, his brother-in-law remains hospitalized.

NOLA Social Ride set up a memorial with a ghost bike at the crash site on Chef Menteur Highway and athletes at the race paid tribute.

"Hundreds of them today as I was putting them in the water had 156 on their face," says race director Bill Burke. "That was Frank's race number and so they were wearing that number throughout the race today for him. They want to race for him so it was great to see that."

New Orleans firefighters collected money in their boots to help Guinn's family.

He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Many athletes here talked about their own experiences training and sharing the road.

"In a lot of areas, in San Antonio and Austin I know, they've got cycling to work programs," says athlete Helen Phipps. "They've got a lot of shoulders and back roads and usually cyclists know to use those roads instead of major highways or something where there's no shoulder."

1,800 athletes finished Sunday's Ironman 70.3, representing 45 states and 24 countries.

For many, it's not their first or last race and while there are risks to training, there are also rewards.

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