RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Only a few athletes qualify for the Ironman World Championship every year, but one local mom is beating the odds.
About three weeks ago, Reno resident Liz Lyles took second place for women’s professional at the Ironman European Championship in Germany. Now her next big challenge is conquering the 140.6 mile journey at the World Championship in Hawaii this October. "It was kind of like a dream come true, my best time, a new PR (personal record),” said Lyles.
36-year-old Lyles is not your ordinary Reno mom. She recently came home with a silver medal from Ironman Frankfurt. “That gave me enough points that I will for sure be in Kona this year,” said Lyles.
It was her second Frankfurt race, and this year she came from behind to take second place. “And so I steadily just picked off girls, one by one. Running in third, second place was a minute up with two miles ago, and it was so exciting to pass her."
Swimming 2.4 miles, then biking 112, and finishing it off running 26.2 miles is an accomplishment on its own. But for Lyles, finishing under 9 hours is a dream come true. “You know, once you cross the finish line, the excitement is there, nothings better."
This fall, Lyles will be one of 35 professional women from around the world competing for the Ironman World Championship title. It's her second time taking on the Kona race professionally. “Intimating because it is the best 35 women in the world and so you know, every name on that start list is definitely a contender, amazing athlete, dedicate their whole lives to perform well at the world stage."
Lyles has finished several half and full distance Ironman competitions, but she's only been racing professionally for two years. “I was an age grouper and then I had kids and took some time off and just mostly ran because it was easier to just get in a quick run. And then my husband kind of pushed me to get back at it and go for it, before I got too old to compete, thinking I might have some regrets."
Lyles moved to Reno in 2002. She has two young kids and schedules her constant training around her family. She says being a mom and a professional athlete is pretty hectic, but worth it. “You know, I just enjoy working out and training so much, it makes me so much happier, that fulfills me, and then I can be with the kids and be you know, a happy, good mom to them."
And Lyles said she uses Ironman as a metaphor for life in general. “You'll have a lot of struggles and you’ll have your ups and downs throughout the day, but really you know crossing the finish line, you just need determination that you’ll get there, so it can kind of get you through anything.”
Lyles will be competing in Lake Tahoe's first half Ironman in September to build strength for the World Championship. She hopes to place in the top 10 or better in Kona. News 4 wishes her good luck!