Garges, who has been at the helm of the County’s Park and Recreation Department since 2007, participated in the Aug. 28 Ford Ironman competition in Louisville, Ky., along with 2,600 other athletes.
An ironman competition is a daunting challenge comprised of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run, which all add up to 140.6 miles.
Garges competed in the 60 to 64 category and there were 31 other competitors in that group with the oldest being 74. His time for the event was 14:54.
When asked how he did afterwards, Garges said, “ Not as good as I hoped, but I finished 18th in my age group and just under 15 hours. The swim and the run are always my strongest parts of the event.”
Garges’ first ironman competition was the Wilmington’s Beach2Battleship event last November, which he completed in under 14 hours.
“The bike is always my most challenging part,” Garges said. “The course was a series of long running hills and it took me over seven hours to complete,” he said of his most recent competition. “However, I was still able to run a 5:22 marathon at the end. The swim in the Ohio River was fun and I tried to keep my mouth shut,” Garges joked.
Garges said he doesn’t aspire to be a world class athlete.
“My goals are simple,” Garges said. “ Finish and walk the next day. It’s really not about the competition for me, but the individual test. I’ve been a Master’s swimmer, runner, and tri-athlete since 1978 and the challenge in doing something you haven’t done before helps you grow.”
Before coming to Mecklenburg County, Garges served as the Director of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and the Director of the Kettering Parks, in the Recreation and Cultural Arts Department in Kettering, Ohio. Earlier in his career, Garges organized a triathlon in 1978 while park and recreation director in Delaware, Ohio
Garges said it isn’t important what people do to stay active as long as they do something.
“The key is to make sure you exercise,” Garges said. “You don’t have to be an Ironman – just get out and go for a walk. Being overweight will lead to a host of health problems and it is something that each individual can control.”