Blacksburg family completes Iron Man 70.3 World Championship

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) — World championship medals don't come easy. For the Iron Man 70.3 - it takes a strong body, a sound mind, and a good bit of determination.

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The Buss family has all those things. Gary and Janet are no strangers to Iron Man. They've been race competitors since 2015.

But just last week they finished tackling an Iron Man World Championship in Nice, France.

"I'm an average swimmer, an above-average cyclist and an above-average runner," said Gary Buss.

Downplaying his accomplishments, Gary actually trains for upwards of 15 hours a week and that's not when there's an upcoming race. So does Janet. Their grown daughter Kate also joined in on the adventure.

The decision to go to Nice, France, came after Gary qualified for the world championship in Williamsburg.

"I would ride up mountain lake 1-2 times a week," said Gary.

They trained in their own backyard. Swimming at Blacksburg Aquatic Center, running and biking in their neighborhood.

September 2 they left for Nice. But they discovered after a 21-hour journey, their luggage, including bikes, wet suits and other race necessities, hadn't made it with them.

"You know to have trained and traveled and to earn the spot to compete in a world championship, inside I was just "ugh,"' said Janet.

Janet thankfully found a bike to purchase at a shop in France, and Gary was able to use his daughter's bike.

The temperature in the water was above the wet suit requirement. Things seemed to be working out. Until the bike portion, that is.

"I rode and I'm like something's up and I'm like yup, I've got a flat," said Janet.

Seven hours later, though, Janet finished. Gary finished in just over five hours. Tuesday they rescued their luggage from the Roanoke Airport.

"Uh, lets see, biggest takeaway? Follow your dreams. I mean we would have never gone to Nice France without him qualifying and you qualifying," said Gary.

A journey that made the medal all the more worth while. The Buss family says they plan to compete in the Iron Man 70.3 happening in Roanoke in June.

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