MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — The Ironman triathlon isn’t for the faint of heart. 

“We swim 1.2 miles, then we get on our bikes and ride 56 miles, and then we run 13.1,” said triathlete Kim Wolman.

Wolman and her boyfriend Dave Grad traveled 1,000 miles from Parkland, Florida to compete in the inaugural St. Jude Memphis half Ironman. 

“St. Jude is a big reason for we’re out here,” said Grad. “So, the amount of money that’s going to be raised here is, is what it’s all about for the kids, it’s for the charities, it’s for the kids with cancer. And that’s what this main one is for other people. There are cancer survivors out here doing it. There are people who are doing it for a family member who might have passed. I mean there’s all the reasons that people why they’re out here so that’s why this is just a phenomenal group.” 

“It was an organization that helps children and children’s families, helped them through their cancer and treatments,” Wolman said. “And to me that really made it a strong connection.”

A strong connection that led Wolman to become a St. Jude Hero for this event, raising even more money for the cause. 

Wolman has been training and competing in triathlons for years. Grad, on the other hand, is competing in his very first ironman Saturday and had to take a little convincing to get on board. 

“I really haven’t swam, since I was a teenager, so I had never gotten into water,” Grad said. “So, you know, there was no way I was going to do it, I mean it just wasn’t it wasn’t going to happen.” 

“Little by little I was able to convince him to get in the water to swim,” said Wolman. “And then little by little I got him to get on, get a bike and practice, and after that, a little, a little run, and then we kind of put them all together.”

Grad is also a teacher and wasn’t able to train every day like other triathletes.

“I do a lot of my training on Saturdays and Sundays. And then in the summers I do a lot of the massive part of the training so I don’t have people do it that way, but that’s the only way that I can do it.” 

All the couple’s training will pay off as they begin the race with the swim course Saturday morning at Shelby Farms Park.