By Susan Koeppen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Swim. Bike. Run. Repeat.

Two-three hours a day, seven days a week, you’ll find John Duda doing what it takes to be an Ironman.

“So typically when I am getting ready for an Ironman, I am biking 200-300 miles a week. I bump up my swims to 5,000 yards. Usually, I run three to four days a week, 50 miles a week or so,” Duda said.

At age 54, he will join 2,000 other racers on Oct. 8, in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Qualifying is an epic feat for even the best athletes.

“You have to have a really good day to go to Hawaii,” Duda said.

This summer during the Ironman Lake Placid he made it happen, coming in second in his age group.

“Came out of the water in 12th, fourth after the bike, took over third in the marathon then I took over second with two miles from the finish so it was dramatic for me,” Duda recalled.

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This Ironman from Latrobe, who’s a radiologist by trade, wasn’t always so good.

“My first triathlon I just really learned how to swim, I crashed my bike a few weeks before that and broke my nose so I was really green newbie but I just loved it,” he said.

Sixteen years later, with lots of training and 11 full Ironman races under his belt, Duda is now ranked in the top 1 percent for triathletes his age in the United States.

“My favorite part of Ironman racing is the mental side,” he said. “The distances we do are crazy and the human body shouldn’t do that… a lot of getting to the finish line is just convincing yourself that you can.”