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Ironman: Local family goes all in

Three generations of Possells complete event in Oceanside

Posted: April 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The course spans a 1.2-mile swim in Oceanside Harbor, a 56-mile bike ride through San Clemente State Park and Camp Pendleton, and concludes with a 13.1-mile run in and out of coastal neighborhoods.

It's designed to test a person's physical and mental toughness - a challenge that three generations of Possells have now faced head-on together.

Canyon High senior Kyle Possell, his father, Josh, and his grandfather, Wiley, all completed the Rohto Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside on Saturday, and through their training, have inspired the rest of the family to take up the sport.

"It's finally over, and I can go do what I want," laughed Kyle after the race. "No stress."

Kyle has developed a love for the sport, he said. He was one of two 18-year-olds to register for the Oceanside event and the only one to actually compete. Kyle was 17 when he signed up, but turned 18, the minimum age requirement, in February. More than 2,000 people participated Saturday.

The former Cowboys defensive back opted out of playing either baseball or golf this spring in order to focus solely on triathlon training.

"I've been doing those forever, so I wanted to do something different, something new," Kyle said.

The same was true for Josh, 40, four years ago when he entered himself and Wiley, 62, into the event.

"Every Christmas, I couldn't think of something to get my dad," Josh said. "Every year, it is hard to know what to get a parent. One day, I was sitting on the couch watching one of these Ironman races. There was a 72-year-old lady that was crossing the finish line, and she was just motivating and pumped me up. I went to the computer and went to the website and signed us up for this race in 2007."

It was meant to be something that father and son could work toward together.

It stuck, and they completed Oceanside Ironman in 2008 and 2010 as well.

That's when Kyle's attention was peaked.

Before long, father, son and grandson were training.

"It's more fun," Wiley said. "It's another sport. We do a lot of things together sportswise. We are a pretty close family, so this is just icing on the cake."

Josh completed Saturday's event in 5 hours, 58 minutes; Kyle clocked in at 7:33; and Wiley crossed the finish line in 8:44.

Kyle said he still has to work on his transitions at each phase, and that he is already looking forward to entering another race.

His mother, Laurie, and sister Kayla feel the same way.

Laurie and Kayla were on hand in Oceanside to offer support.

They currently plan to participate in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September.

The clincher was attending Kyle's first triathlon - the Desert International and Sprint Triathlon in Palm Springs.

"It was interesting for me when (Josh) started," Laurie said. "I was involved with it, but for some reason, when I went to this past triathlon ... and I watched my son do it, I looked at my daughter and I said, ‘You know what, we could all do this. It could be a family thing.'"

In preparation for their respective events, training became just that.

Luckily for Kayla, she already had a bit of an edge.

"I'm on the (Canyon) swim team, so I already swim every day," she said. "Sometimes, me and my dad go to the pool together, and we go on runs together."

The events aren't easy.

They aren't made to be.

However, triathlons aren't limited to elite athletes either, Josh stresses.

"On the surface, it seems intimidating to some, but in reality, it is mind over matter. I noticed that all different people, all different ages, all different sizes and shapes - from pro athletes to people that were athletes - were in these events. What's different about it - it just becomes a race against yourself, how much you want to push yourself. It is your race."

And with a family of support literally behind them, it became the Possells' race.

So will those in the future.

"It's kind of addicting," Kyle said. "It's fun to see how far your body can go."

Said Josh: "(Race officials) said they've never had a fourth generation."



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