Niles has its very own Ironman in Doug Campbell

Published 9:43 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2003

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- It's not hard to strike up a conversation with Doug Campbell these days.
Just mention the word Ironman and he'll take over from there.
Campbell, 37, of Niles, has good reason to be excited about Ironman races. He recently competed in one of these grueling triathlons and surprised even himself with how well he performed.
The 1984 Niles High School graduate took part in the Ironman Florida Triathlon on Saturday, Nov. 8, and finished tied for 518th overall, 177th in his age group.
It was not the first triathlon Campbell has ever done, but it was the first one of such great distance. The Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.
Campbell is a member of the Michigan Outlaws, a club of triathletes based in Stevensville. With their help he competed in the LaPorte, Ind., Sprint Triathlon in July of 2001 and got hooked on training for and competing in triathlons.
Since the LaPorte race, Campbell has trained on average 12 hours per week, doing such things as swimming, biking, running and lifting weights. His longest bike ride in preparation for the Ironman race was a 100-mile loop that took him to LaPorte, Michigan City, Ind., New Buffalo, Bridgman, Buchanan and back to Niles.
The farthest Campbell had ever run in training for the Ironman was 21 miles, a fact that worried him when it came to completing the marathon portion of the Ironman.
Campbell completed the swim in 1:13:20, then did the bike ride in 5:43:03. He and Outlaws teammate Matt Davis ran the marathon together in a time of 3:57:55 for a total time of 11:05:44.
Unlike many triathlon competitors, Campbell said he never hit the wall and felt like he couldn't go on, which surprised him.
In high school, Campbell wasn't a runner or a swimmer and didn't ride his bike competitively either. He only played soccer at Niles High School.
Campbell, however, said he picked the right time to start his Ironman endeavor. As he surveyed the field of competitors in Florida, he realized he was a typical Ironman athlete.
Already signed up to run in the Ironman USA in July of 2004 in Lake Placid, N.Y., Campbell plans to continue competing in such events.
Campbell's ultimate goal is to qualify for the Ironman Hawaii, which requires finishing in a certain time within the age group.