LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A bit of an unusual start to Ironman Louisville, as earlier in the week, it was announced that algae would put a stop to the swimming portion of the annual triathlon event.
The level of excitement shown on this Sunday, however, was no surprise.
Traditionally, the swimming portion starts off the event, so placing the start at the bike leg was no logistical blessing for organizers.
Riders were backed up for over an hour, and they were met with a shorter time limit regardless of when they met the starting line.
The shortened event still drew crowds from across the world.
Some of these people from out of town were taking a look at the green algae on the Ohio River that caused the cancellation of one-third of the Ironman competition.
One athlete from out-of-town decided to complete the first leg of the triathlon in her own way.
Kari Nader wasn’t going to let her years of training go to waste.
Her friends and family called around from Michigan, and they found the lake at Progress Park, where Kari swam the 3.8 kilometers before the official Ironman competition began downtown.
Kari says without that kind of support, like the kind shown from her husband, she couldn’t do what she’s doing.
“I can’t thank them enough. I could not have done this without them.” Nader said.
Kari made it to Waterfront Park in time to prepare for the “official” start, which she says has been a long time coming.
“Ten years ago, I weighed 270 pounds. I started running. I never thought I’d be standing here running a full, so there was no way I wasn’t doing the swim this morning,” Nader said.
The race wasn’t just a goal for Kari, it was also a fun experience.
“Time flies by. It’s like how could the time have gone so fast, and it’s just because I love it," Nader said.
If you ask her family what makes Kari special, it isn’t her athleticism. It’s her humility.
Giving all the credit to the people around her and reminding everyone about their own worth.
“I am no more special than other athlete here." Nader said. "When we found out that the swim was canceled, there’s so many emotions, people are devastated, people are crying, people are wondering, should I do a different race? And everybody has to make up their mind personally what’s important to them, how they want to achieve their goal. Everyone here is amazing.”
Kari hopes to remember Ironman Louisville not as two-thirds of a race, but as one whole special memory.