Chattanooga IRONMAN 70.3 winner overcomes adversity to claim emotional win

    Andrew Starykowicz wins the Chattanooga IRONMAN 70.3 on Sunday. (Image: WTVC)<p>{/p}

    The Chattanooga IRONMAN 70.3 is in the books, and it was a day jam-packed with emotion. Andrew Starykowicz took the top spot.

    It's been a long road back for Starykowicz, who was hit by a truck while on his bike back in August of 2016.

    "It looked like the end of my career, but day-by-day I fought and fought," Starykowicz said.

    But he said it was ultimately his family who got him to where he is now.

    "Shortly after I got run over, my son ended up in an ICU when he was born, and it was seeing those little kids and their suffering that really told me, hey, I can do this," Starykowicz said.

    And that's why he said having his 3-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son there Sunday made winning even more special.

    "This is the first time that they've ever been here when I win a race, and it's just super special to share it with them," Starykowicz said.

    Starykowicz was one of thousands who also had family members there, cheering them on, like 9-year-old Maya Marino, who was her father's biggest fan Sunday.

    "I said go dad," Marino said.

    Maya, her sister, brother, mom and dad all drove in from Colorado. Meanwhile, dad Todd Todd Bergeron was up from Louisiana to cheer on his son.

    He said Chattanooga does a great job with the race.

    "Great support from parents and family members, but just the city is great support. This is something. We've been to the New Orleans one, and it's nothing like this," Bergeron said.

    And finishing first on the women side we have Heather Jackson with the time of 4 hours 11 minutes and 8 seconds.

    Congratulations to the male and female winners and to all who participated.

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