Aflac Iron Girls prepare for this weekend's triathlon

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A 1/3 mile swim, a three mile run and an 18 mile bike ride may take most people an entire summer to complete, but not for the tri-athletes at the annual Aflac Iron Girl.

It's an event competitors say any woman can run. It's the Aflac Iron Girl and it takes place this weekend. The goal of most races is to finish first, but the tri-athletes we spoke with say their biggest competition is themselves.

"Kind of no pain, no gain attitude is what I have. I know I can do it," said returning competitor Andrea Graham.

She may have all the confidence in the world, but her doctors say she shouldn't be competing this year because of back and neck problems. But she is determined to push through the pain and beat her time from last year, "The bike ride is very difficult because of the position we're in, your neck hurts really bad. And the impact from running hurts your lower back. Basically you have to do what your body tells you, you can do, you can't do more than that."

Some runners, like Michele McMullin will compete for the first time, "April and I decided that since we're both turning 30 this year and starting a new decade in our lives, why not do a triathlon? It's something we've both wanted to do so this was the opportunity to do it."

And April Flournoy says they've had to change their daily routines to prepare for it, "Making the commitment to do Aflac Iron Girl has proven you can find that balance. I've found the balance between home and work and exercise and I hope I can maintain this active lifestyle after the event."

After all their hard work the iron girls will swim, bike and run their way across the finish line.

McMullin told News Leader Nine, "I just want to finish, but my competitive side also says I'd love to complete it in two hours."

Flournoy added, "I'm in it to finish. That's the great thing about Iron Girl is that it doesn't matter if you're first or last, you're all winners."

These tri-athletes will compete Sunday in Atlanta at the Aflac Iron Girl where they will joins hundreds of other women at the finish line.

To get more information on the annual race you can go to

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