MOLINE, Ill. — An East Moline man is about to start a cross-country trip competing in Ironman triathlons.
Matt Jackson has completed seven Ironman triathlons, and kicked off his nation-wide tour with an indoor triathlon at the Two Rivers YMCA in Moline.
Saturday was not your typical day at the Two Rivers YMCA.
In the pool before many Quad Citizens were awake, Matt Jackson was already going the distance.
"Today we're doing a full distance, indoor Ironman triathlon, all within the YMCA," Jackson said.
Jackson swam 2.4 miles in the pool before heading upstairs to bike 112 more.
"I don't think I'll feel too much until we start running most likely," Jackson said while on the bike.
Saturday's Ironman was not an official competition, but it is pedaling him closer to his goal.
Since 2018, Jackson has dreamed of qualifying for and participating in the Kona Ironman in Hawaii, the Ironman world championships.
"With COVID pushing it off for a year, it makes me that much more excited to hopefully, finally go this year," Jackson said.
Before he leaves for that competition, he is challenging his community to take the first step in becoming more active.
"I hope they get a little inspiration," Jackson said. "It might, you know help them take on their own fitness challenge whatever it might be."
The Two Rivers YMCA is starting a new program on March 1, 2022, called the "Road to Kona," and runs through May 9.
As part of that program, anyone in the community, including people who are not members of the YMCA, can work toward completing the Ironman, at each individual's own pace.
"What a better way to do that than to encourage other people to push their limits by allowing them to kind of come along the journey with him in his IRONMAN, but allowing them a little more time," said Breanne Anderson, the branch executive at the Two Rivers YMCA.
Pacing himself on Saturday, though, is just part of Jackson's marathon.
"I think you might need a little bit of insanity," Jackson said. "I don't know, I think you gotta love it."
Jackson is running toward his dream as those around him work toward theirs.
Jackson has six more competitions planned before arriving in Hawaii for the Kona world championships in October.
To learn more about the "Road to Kona" program at the YMCA, click here.