Coleman competes in IronMan World Championship

Triathlete shares his journey to a big finish in Utah

Special to The Sun: Spectators cheer for triathlete and Moorestown resident Matt Coleman as he competes in an Ironman World Championship race. He will compete in the IronMan 70.3 World Championship in Utah on Oct. 29.

Triathlete Matt Coleman will cross the finish line at the IronMan 70.3 World Championship in Utah to his biggest supporters – his wife Celie and two sons.

“For me, it really just comes down to finding the perfect balance, because I know what I do, it definitely stresses our family,” Coleman said. “There’s a lot of times that I am away from the kids, but I know and I trust that Celie is helping me out and doing all the right things.”

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“Celie is my number-one teammate,” the Moorestown resident added. “Every time we’ve ever gone to a big race or done a big race, when I cross the finish line, it’s not just me, it’s Celie too.”

Coleman will compete in the 2022 Intermountain Healthcare IronMan 70.3 World Championship, presented by the Utah Sports Commission, in the state’s St. George on Oct. 29. 

According to ironman.com, it marks the second time the championship will be held in St. George, home of IronMan St. George and host of the 2021 championship.

Special to The Sun: For this year’s IronMan World Championship, Matt Coleman will swim 1.2 miles through a reservoir, take a 56-mile bike ride and run 13.1 miles.

“Each race has a transition area, and some races, depending upon how it’s set up, you might have two,” Coleman explained. “This one will have two … You swim first (1.2 miles), you come out of the water … You’ll go into the transition area, you’ll take your swim apparel off and then you have one thing that you’ll wear all day.”

From there, athletes will endure a 56-mile bike ride to St. George, followed by a 13.1-mile run in the fastest time.

“There’s people who are running insanely fast after coming off a bike, and it’s unbelievable,” Coleman said.

After taking almost six years off from training, he recently competed in and won overall the Medford Lakes Colony Sprint Triathlon, and in May, he qualified for IronMan after placing third in his age group at the Eagleman 70.3 Ironman Race in Cambridge, Maryland.

“Every time I ran by Celie and the kids, I would just start … Your adrenaline is on one million and you’re working really hard and you just see them, and (it’s) instant tears,” Coleman noted. “It’s crazy.”

Coleman started competing in long-distance triathlons when he went to a well-known race in Philadelphia.

Special to The Sun: “The way I truly think about it is, it’s like building a piano,” Matt Coleman said of training for the IronMan World Championship. “You really have to take the time and be patient to build the best piano that you can produce to show up on race day and have the most beautiful sound.”

“My older sister asked me if I would run the Broad Street Run, so I started running in 2006,” he recalled. “I was living in the city, and I rode my bike to work every day … I started running and I was riding my bike and I was like, ‘I’m already doing two, I might as well just start swimming and see what happens.’  

“I did that, and I entered into a sprint race, which is a very short-distance race, in Philly,” Coleman added. “And I did pretty well and I loved it.”

‘“ … It just shows you this mind-over-body strength that some of these triathletes have,” Celie said. “It looks unreal, because they’ll be running as hard as they can to cross, and as soon as they cross the threshold of the finish line, their body just gives out, because you know that their mind has said, ‘Complete, you’ve done it.’ 

“So as soon as their mind has sent that signal, their bodies are just like, ‘Okay.’”

Coleman’s training involves running five times a week, swimming three times a week and biking four times a week.

“The way I truly think about it (training) is, it’s like building a piano,” Coleman explained. “ … If you go too hard or you stretch a string too hard, it’s going to pop and you’re going to get hurt. You really have to take the time and be patient to build the best piano that you can produce to show up on race day and have the most beautiful sound.”

“If you want the most beautiful sound, you have to be patient and do the hard work,” he added. “I’m not the most talented person, but I know for a fact that I work as hard, if not harder, than everybody else, and that’s the one thing that has carried me through this entire thing, is just my sheer determination.”

Coleman is passionate about training for the IronMan World Championships.

“I always have two goals,” said. “I have a realistic goal and a lofty goal, and if you can hit or exceed that lofty goal – which I’ve done – it’s like nothing else.”

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