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Local Tri-Athlete Qualifies For Ironman South Africa
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Emerging from the bay after a 1.2 mile swim and completing the first of three events in the Ironman Half Oceanside in April, Brian Fogarty would continue on for a 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile half marathon with a total finish time of 4:43. Photo Contributed
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Oakdale’s Brian Fogarty just shortly after learning of his qualification to participate in the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in South Africa this September. The former high school swimmer began competing in triathlons for hobby in 2014. Photo Contributed

It all began with a simple “sprint” for Oakdale’s Brian Fogarty, but not on the track or in the water, both places which he called home for his high school career.

In 2009, Fogarty tried his hand at a Triathlon Sprint distance, an event which includes a 1,500 meter swim, 40 km (24.9 mile) bike ride and 10k (6.2 mile) run. Not out to set the world on fire, he finished.

“In ‘09 I wasn’t that serious about it then,” Fogarty said. “I did enough just to complete it then.”

From “09” as he says to present day, however, some things have changed drastically in terms of his commitment to the event of Triathlon. Earlier this year Fogarty qualified for the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa. This event will cover a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run.

Fogarty’s qualifying time of 4 hours, 43 minute was achieved in Oceanside, California during the Ironman 70.3 Oceanside event in April. Ironically, that’s the very same course on which he first completed a half Ironman in 2014.

“It was kind of fitting,” he said of the achievement. “Any time I race, I’m all out. I’m competing. I just happened to have a breakthrough race.”

The transition, however, from the guy who raced the sprint in 2009 to the championship qualifier of 2018 took some time and a true mindset of dedication.

“I wanted something to do,” Fogarty said of when he first began re-entertaining the idea of triathlons in late 2013.

He noted recalling a guy from college who began racing triathlons.

“Everything about him changed,” Fogarty said. “You could physically see it.”

So he pulled the trigger and committed to the 2014 Oceanside Ironman Half Triathlon, 70.3 mile distance.

“The rest is history,” he said of his newfound love and hobby. “As soon as you start training you just meet people. It’s such a nice thing, especially in the Valley.”

Four years later since that first event, Fogarty has completed eight half triathlons and two full ironman triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run). He now trains with Fun Sport Bikes Tri-Team out of Modesto.

“Everybody’s got their hobby,” he said. “I didn’t know. I thought I’d be one and done, but it’s kind of a high. There’s definitely a high, there’s a buzz.”

The tri-athlete shared connecting with others who enjoy the same sport just makes it all the better, noting the camaraderie and fun competitive spirit as a major benefit. He also enjoys eating whatever he likes, minus the guilt. As a responsible competitive athlete however, he’s also mindful of his nutritional intake for optimal performance. Not one to follow fad diets, Fogarty cites as a solid resource for a nutritional guide.

Naturally equally important as food, yet more time consuming is the training for such an event.

“There’s just as much training for a half and a full, just different by way of speed. There’s a lot of speed work, endurance work and you vary it. If you’re serious about it, improving and being competitive you have to do all of them,” he said of the swim, bike, run components three times each a week.

Yet with that said, Fogarty notes life balance as well as friendships made as an important priority to him.

“Balance is important to me,” he said. “Family is important to me. It’s a lot of fun, but maintaining balance is important.”

Looking forward to South Africa and the honor of running in the Championships in early September has prompted Fogarty to re-evaluate some goals.

“The end goal is to qualify for Kona World Championship,” he said. “I would love to visit every continent in my lifetime. So, I think a fun way to do that would be to race on every continent.”

For now his sights are set on the travel abroad and the opportunity this hobby has brought him.

“I’d love to PR,” he said of looking to set a personal record in the Championship race. “I don’t know if I’m quite at that level of fitness. It’s just exciting.”