Local African American men participate in a triathlon

.5% of the participants are African American

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -  When Gershon Blyden asked his friends to participate in a local triathlon with him, some certainly had their doubts about doing so. That was never the case for Steven Raymond.

"I lost my aunt to cardiac arrest," states Raymond. "In my family, it just so happens they don't eat the healthiest foods. With obesity running in my family and high blood pressure it really, really got me going to want to do something like this."

So a few ordinary young men took on the challenge of completing a triathlon. The Ironman 70.3, in fact.

It's a sport where only point five percent of the participants are African American. This journey would change their lives forever.

"When I started off, I didn't have a bicycle, so I did spinning to complement that," states Blyden. "The furthest I could do is run maybe a mile. I just started doing it periodically to build myself up, and eventually build up the endurance."

"I knew that it was going to be a challenge, but at the same time I was up for it," states Raymond. "I knew with the right diet and discipline I could be ready for the race."

Not only were they ready, but after months of training, Gershon and Steven, along with their friend Brian Shields, completed the Ironman together.

As soon as you're done you feel inspired and you get bit," states Blyden. "I was bit by the triathlon bug. You become addicted to it."

This April, these triathletes will compete in the Nautica South Beach Triathlon.

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