Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about Big Island athletes leading up to the Ironman World Championship on Oct. 11.
Peter Bresciani is about to retire from his post as deputy public defender from the state Public Defenders office, but his future likely has more road work in it than rocking chair.
Bresciani’s was one of the 24 Hawaii Island names announced at the Ironman World Championship lottery Saturday. That means the 65-year-old Captain Cook man has plenty to do between now and Oct. 11, when more than 2,000 of the world’s fittest athletes will attempt to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.
“I can’t give the words (to describe the feeling),” Bresciani said shortly after he found out he would be able to compete in the event. “I’m really excited about this. I’ve wanted to do this for years.”
Bresciani has lived on the Big Island for more than 20 years, but he had never entered the lottery before this year. That’s because he knew that his demanding job would not afford him the time to go through the rigorous training necessary to compete in the Ironman World Championship.
He’s done about a dozen triathlons over the past five years, but none as demanding as this one.
A New York City native who has run regularly for more than 20 years, Bresciani did not compete in his first triathlon until he was 60 years old. He said a friend asked him to run as part of a relay team in the Lavaman Triathlon.
“After I did the run, I thought it was interesting,” he said. “I thought, ‘I think I can do the whole thing.’ The next year, I did the first Lavaman, which is an Olympic distance.”
Two years later, he entered the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii, which is half the distance of the Ironman and known locally as “Honu.”
“The Honu is a lot longer race,” Bresciani said. “It’s a lot more challenging. Doing the Honu, I realized that it was possible to do an Ironman. You could train up to an Ironman.
“It’s possible,” he said. “Not that I’m going to be any good at it or finish in any exciting way, but I can do it.”
Bresciani had to bide his time, waiting for the day when he could concentrate solely on training for the Ironman. At the end of the month, that day will come. Instead of training about 13 hours a week, as he currently does, Bresciani figures he will need to train about 20 hours a week under the direction of a triathlon coach.
Despite his running background, Bresciani said that swimming is his strongest event.
“Unfortunately, the swimming is the shortest one,” he said. “The saying is you can’t win on the swim, but you can lose it on it. I do the worst at the bike. I’m in the middle on the run.”
As much as he enjoys the physical tests that triathlons present, Bresciani said he also likes the social interaction that goes along with it.
“People are really friendly. They are really enjoyable things to be a part of,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s because Ironman is here, but there is a strong athletic community here. Not just triathletes, but people that run or bike or swim. They are really supportive.”