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Senior sets sights on Ironman, graduation

September 25, 2019

KOKOMO, Ind. – Train to swim two and a half miles, bike 112, run 26.2, to complete in 16 hours. Then, go to class.

For Adam Walters, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime as he trains for Ironman Louisville, set for October 13.

“I’ve always been a swimmer, and when I saw the world championships for Ironman on TV, I thought I could do that, too,” said Walters, a senior at Indiana University Kokomo.

He balances three to six hours of training a day with a full class schedule as a criminal justice major, and also coaches swimmers for Howard County Aquatics.

“The knowledge I am capable of pushing myself motivates me,” said Walters, from Bunker Hill.

While having enough energy for school isn’t a problem, it occasionally takes effort to keep his mind in the classroom.

“I find myself thinking about thing related to triathlons during class,” he said, adding that time management is key. “There isn’t much time for non-essentials.”

His mornings start early, with a swim, bike ride, or run before class.

“Swimming is the easiest part,” he said. “With biking, I have to spend a lot of time on the bike, usually 20 miles on weekdays, and anywhere from 50 to 100 miles on weekends. Running has been a slow process for me. I’m not used to the impact of running.”

He has two shorter, Olympic-distance triathlons under his belt already, most recently finishing first in his age group, and third overall, in the Mighty Mississinewa Triathlon at the Miami State Recreation Area.

Olympic distance means a one mile swim, 25 miles on the bike, and a six mile run. Walters finished in about two hours and 19 minutes.

“I had an eight minute lead coming out of the water, two minutes after the bike, and they caught me on the run,” he said.

He placed second in his age group in his first triathlon, Ironman Coeur d’Alene, at Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He chose the event because it was close to his summer job doing trail maintenance work at the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho.

“My swim went really well, but when I got out of the water, I was a little overwhelmed in the transition, and it took me longer than I would have liked,” Walters said. “There was a lot of uphill on the bike, and on the run, I got a big blister on my foot, which was a bummer.”

He wasn’t able to swim during the summer, because the nearest pool was more than two hours away, but there was a freshly-paved 40 mile road to town he could bike or run.

“That’s nice as a biker, not having to worry about bumps in the road, and beating up my bike,” he said, adding he’s put nearly 2,500 miles on the bike since May. “My co-workers would laugh at me. They said I didn’t work hard enough because I’d get off work and bike 20 miles and run three to five miles on weekdays.”

After he graduates in May 2020, Walters wants to be a park ranger or law enforcement officer for the national forest service, and also plans to continue training for triathlons.

“I always want to do well,” he said. “It’s nice to have a good finish. That’s a good plus. It’s pretty fun.”

Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.

Last updated: 09/25/2019