An East Texas couple will be side by side at one of the greatest physical challenges known to mankind — the Ironman triathlon.
Cori and Ryan Moore, of Flint, will be standing on the starting line of the famous 140.6-mile race in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday. The grueling race begins with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bicycle run that ends with a 26.2-mile marathon.
The race is a big step for the pair, who completed their first triathlon two years ago, but sports and physical activities always have helped bond the couple. The couple have been married for seven years, and they have two children, ages four and six.
Cori, 32, said she started running when she was 12, and competed in cross country in junior high and basketball in high school.
“I blew out my knee a couple times, but … I never stopped working out,” Cori said. “I ran in college, and never stopped running. That was my form of exercise. That’s what I did. I ran.”
Ryan, 36, was heavy in the motocross scene.
The Moores met at Santo Chiropractic, where Cori worked. Ryan joked that Dr. Santo is the man who “keeps him together” following a motorcycle-related injury.
Ryan asked Cori on a date, but she initially said no.
“I called him back 20 minutes later and asked if it was too late to change my mind,” Cori said. “Dr. Santo talked me into it. (He said), ‘Just go on a date with him, you won’t marry him.’”
Dates involved going outside and being active, and the couple bonded over sports. They got involved with the bicycling community after the birth of their first child, but didn’t run their first triathlon until two years ago.
“We had never done one before, and we did what we thought we should be doing a far as training,” Cori said. “We both got fifth in our age groups. We were so excited and pumped up and said, ‘We are doing a full Iron Man one day.’ At that point it became a bucket list item.”
Ryan wanted to do the Iron Man Texas race this year, but missed the deadline to sign up. As a birthday surprise, Cori signed him up for the Louisville race and hired Jeremy Brown with Mind Right Multisport to train him for the race.
“Ryan has so much natural talent,” Cori said. “He is a very gifted athlete, and I wanted him to have the best chance he could.”
In December, the Moores started training for an April race in Galveston, with the idea that Ryan would continue training for the Ironman afterwards.
Cori started training 13 weeks out from the Ironman competition.
Some weeks involved up 28 hours of training, miles of swimming, biking and running. The Moores said they could not have done it without supportive family and a community of friends.
“There are some moms that don’t have any help,” Cori said. “They say (it) takes a village. I have a village, and I’m so grateful for that because I know how lucky I am.”
Cori and Ryan are deeply rooted in the community including the running club East Texas Striders, the East Texas Triathletes and the Tyler Bicycle Club. The Moores said community members would help breakup the solidarity of training, while Elite Bicycle and Cobb cycling kept the tires rolling.
“Our community has really rallied around us to help train for this,” Cori said. “I feel like doing this race has brought a lot of us together and closer. I think it has helped bring a little more cohesion and helped inspire others to train and do things they aspire for.”
The pair said they have a love-hate relationship while training for a race, but race day is an emotional experience. Cori said there always are tears at the finish line.
“When you’re broken down like that, physically, because of the race and connect the way we connect — two people who have gone through that together — it’s awesome,” Cori said.
The Moores said they are physically ready for the Iron Man, and on race day the challenge will be mental one. That is, believing they have what it takes to make it across the finish line.
Finishing the race is a reward in itself because of the discipline it takes to achieve, and the sense of accomplishment can carry over into other avenues in live.
“It’s never quit, never die attitude,” Ryan said. “It helps you conquer anything. I feel like I can conquer anything.”
Ryan is striving to complete his first race in 10 hours and 30 minutes, and Cori is aiming to finish in less than 13 hours.
“The goal in all of this is to one day to get to Kona (Hawaii), for me,” Ryan said. “I would love to do that in the first go around, but that might not be feasible. This first one is going to be for learning.”
East Texans can track the Moores’ progress during the race, which will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday. Ryan’s number is 240 and Cori’s is 500.