AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — “I’ve always said, it takes a lot of courage to win. You have to do something nobody else is willing to do, and yeah you just got to go get it.”

Months of preparation leading to Sunday when these men and women were able to showcase their efforts. First place winner Jason West says it’s all about keeping the momentum going even throughout the race.

“When you’re not racing, nothing but respect, I have so much respect for my competitors– incredible athletes, like I was pushed to the limit today, there was a lot of times where you’re like ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” Triathlon winner Jason West said.

For those watching, the competition can be difficult as well.

“It almost brings tears to my eyes to even think about, because seeing someone come out of the water, you don’t know if they’re in pain, if they’re cramping already. You know, they have a long day ahead of them and we don’t know what’s going through their mind– honestly this race is a mental game,” Faith Baxter said.

The 1.2 mile swim race started off the competition at seven in the morning. The athletes were split up into professional and non-professional categories.

From the water, participants immediately picked up their bikes for a 50.6 mile ride. 

“My hat’s off to all the athletes, because I try to envision myself, okay, running half marathons, swimming and I’m like, ‘wow.’ So, I- I hope someday, because I always see them like, oh maybe someday, you know, I wish I could do it, and everybody can it’s just like, you know the dedication,” Dianna Sanchez said.

The last phase of competition was a 13.1 mile run leading them to the finish line. Volunteers say, each year they come back because being a part of the Ironman means so much, especially for the area. 

“It put us on the map, because I know we have one of the best swim areas for Ironman. So, it put us on the map, they come to our area, they bring more tourists and they get to see we’re more than just a little town,” said Leticia Taylor, Run Station Captain for Kappa Epsilon Military Sorority.