A 34-year-old Hanahan resident finished Norway's Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon - dubbed by one magazine as the "toughest race on Earth" - on Saturday in 15 hours, 31 minutes.
Andy Balchin, an engineer, finished 181st out of 260 participants in a race that caps the number of competitors because of its challenging conditions.
Those conditions included swimming 2.4 miles in a fjord with water that is less than 60 degrees, biking 112 miles up to and along mountain peaks and finishing a 26.2 mile run on rocky terrain at a 10 percent grade on a 6,100-foot mountain.
The July edition of "LAVA," a magazine that caters to serious triathletes," called it the "toughest race on Earth." The event is so difficult that organizers require each participant to have two crew members. Balchin had his local endurance sports coach Anne Ahern Moore and her husband, Chris Moore, who is a certified bike mechanic, as his crew members.
Balchin called the race "an amazing adventure" and admitted that he had to battle thoughts of giving up.
"(There is) nothing else like it (Norseman) .. In the part of Norway where the race is held, everything is massive. The mountains are massive, the bodies of water are massive, and their depths are massive. The weather conditions can change within minutes," said Balchin, who is still in Norway.
"It was truly a life changing experience. I have never been pushed so far before in my life . The climb up Imingfjell (mountain) was where I had to battle thoughts of giving up. It was a tough climb and I was breaking down mentally and physically. That is where Anne and Chris really motivated me to keep going.
"Anne would tell me to break the climb up into small segments. Chris would look at me and tell me that everyone was suffering up that climb. Their motivation really helped me to pull it together and finish the bike leg."
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.
Prior to Saturday's Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, Andy Balchin took a moment for a selfie during a chilly dip in the Hardangerfjord HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fjord" \o "Fjord" fjord. Andy Balchint×