Not only did she compete in her second-ever IRONMAN race as a new mom, but Chelsea Sodaro also became the first American to win in more than 25 years.
According to FOX News, the 34-year-old mom won the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii last month in October. This was 18 months after she gave birth to her daughter, Skylar. The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.
While speaking to the media outlet about the race, Sodaro shared, “The IRONMAN World Champion is the pinnacle of our sport. All the best athletes show up ready to throw down.”
Sodaro notably competed in her first IRONMAN prior to the World Championship in June 2022. “I absolutely loved it,” she declared. “Kinda was my second full-distance race.”
Sodaro then spoke about how she prepared for the IRONMAN Championship race. “I lift weights a couple of times a week and get bodywork done twice a week,” she explained. She also said the Big Island of Hawaii has unique climate conditions that required her to have additional training. “The conditions of the Big Island are unique, so I did a two-week training camp in Kona about a month out from race day to acclimatize to the heat.”
Although her training went well, Sodaro admitted she became nervous days before the race. “My preparation had gone well, and I think I knew subconsciously that I was ready to have a great day,” she shared. The athlete further explained that prior to the face, she felt a sense of peace. “I pour so much into my work, and my family makes a lot of sacrifices to get me to the start line in one piece.”
Women’s IRONMAN Champion Reveals How She Push Her Way to the Finish Line First
While recalling the IRONMAN race, Sodaro spoke about how she stayed focused and didn’t panic when something went wrong. “I stayed in the present moment and took care of my nutrition, hydration, and cooling all day long,” she explained. “Whenever it started to hurt, I repeated my mantras in my heart. I say, ‘Stay here,’ to remind myself to run the kilometer that I’m in.”
Sodaro crossed the IRONMAN Championship finish line at 8:33:46. Not only did that make her the first rookie to win the World Championship in 15 years, but she also became the first American in more than 25 years. Although she won the race, Sodaro said she didn’t participate in the race to finish, but she did so to compete and win. “Winning Kona is a dream come true. I was immediately greeted at the finish line by my husband and 18-month-old daughter.”
Sodaro added she plans to defend her IRONMAN Champion title next year.