Twelve years ago and not even owning a bike, Casey Boren tried his first triathlon. On Saturday, he will take part for the first time in the sport’s biggest event.
Boren, 44, was persuaded by family to try a sprint triathlon, which covers a little more than 15.5 miles.
“I was hooked,” he said Friday from Kona, Hawaii.
Many competitions later, including 13 Ironman events (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run), he has qualified for the Ironman World Championship on the Big Island.
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“I didn’t think it was remotely possible even 10 years ago,” Boren said. “Now it’s real. People here are getting crazy. I’m not letting it overwhelm me. Probably will avoid the (athletes’) village, stay in my condo, let the excitement get to me (Saturday) morning.”
In 2005, Boren completed his first Ironman event in Coeur d’Alene. He’d dropped weight from being more active, but it was a bit too rapid. After a doctor’s visit, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. With a sense of humility, he said he was glad it wasn’t worse, that it was something manageable.
He uses a high-tech, waterproof insulin pump that has a glucose meter on it for him to check in everyday life and on the course.
“The big thing is you have to really stay on top of what’s going on with your body,” Boren said. “When anyone ‘bonks’ (hits the wall) once in a race, it can be over. That might happen five or six times for a diabetic, so you need a plan, need to know how to rebound.”
Four years ago, Boren and nine other diabetic athletes completed a cross-country run from California to New York in two weeks and started the Diabetes Sports Project, which aims to help diabetics be more active with input from top athletes facing the same issues.
“I’m enjoying the experience, want to keep helping inspire people,” Boren said. “We want to help them get on the same path as I did, that if you have the right attitude, you can do it.”
IDAHOANS AT THE IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Brian Shiflett, 43, Boise
Casey Boren, 44, Boise
Kip Taylor, 45, Coeur d’Alene
Joel Kinnunen, 49, Coeur d’Alene
Suzanne Endsley, 50, Hayden
Steve Hodges, 65, Boise
Dexter Yeats, 70, Hayden