Families show their support at Ironman

Robert Norton gives his daughter, Sofia, a kiss after he completed the ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta. Families from all over showed up to cheer on the competitors.

 

Lynn Fulcher has watched her four kids participate in dozens of gymnastics events, soccer matches and swim meets this year. Sunday morning was her time to step off the sidelines and let the children do the cheering.

“This is mom’s chance,” her husband, Mark, said. “This has been on the calendar for a while.”

The Augusta mom was one of more than 3,000 who competed in the ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta. Her family cheered from the streets of downtown Augusta at various spots along the course while Fulcher participated in her fourth half Ironman. Joshua, Katie Bell, Perry and Lucy Claire – all under 13 years old – set up near the Savannah River with their dad to watch Fulcher emerge from the water after a 1.2-mile swim to compete the first stage of the race and disappear into Aiken County for the 56-mile cycling portion.

The family shifted over to the corner of East Boundary and Greene Street to catch her as she started the first of two laps of a 13.1-mile run. Dad squeezed in a quick fast food lunch for the kids before they greeted mom at the finish line.

“You hear their voices, and it really builds you up and keeps you going,” she said. “My whole family has been so supportive. I feel very loved.”

The 43-year-old nurse was once a competitive swimmer but took an eight-year hiatus from competitive racing to start a family. She returned in 2006 and competed Sunday in her second ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta, finishing third in her age group with a time of 5 hours, 19 seconds. She ran the half marathon portion in under two hours.

Fulcher was one of many triathletes with cheering sections scattered throughout the race. Beyond the usual words of affirmation, spectators used chants, colorful signs, custom-made T-shirts and even costumes to show support.

Evans resident Brandon Rogers had the backing of his wife, three kids and extended family, who cheered at different spots along the race course. His children, Kaitlyn, Nathan and Rebekah, held signs that read “Run Faster” and “We Love You Daddy.”

“He’s our Ironman. That’s for sure,” his wife, Jennifer, said.

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