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Former Steelers WR Ward completes Ironman triathlon

| Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 10:09 a.m.
AP IMAGES FOR GOPRO IRONMAN
Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward reacts with his coach, eight-time Ironman world champion Paula Newby Fraser, after crossing the finish line at the GoPro Ironman World Championship on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
AP IMAGES FOR GOPRO IRONMAN
Former Steelers receiver Hines Ward crosses the finish line during the GoPro Ironman World Championship on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
AP IMAGES FOR GOPRO IRONMAN
Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward cycles on the 112-mile course during the GoPro Ironman World Championship on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
AP IMAGES FOR GOPRO IRONMAN
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (left) is congratulated by former Steelers receiver Hines Ward after Ramsay crossed the finish line at the GoPro Ironman World Championship on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Former Steelers star Hines Ward added a new title to his resume Saturday. Not content with the titles of football and dancing star, Ward now is an Ironman.

The two-time Super Bowl winner finished one of the world's most challenging triathlon courses in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds.

Ward was the 1,680th athlete to cross the finish line after a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon. He finished the swim in 1:20:01, the bike ride in 6:21:12 and the run in 5:12:56.

The former NFL star and “Dancing With the Stars” winner trained for nearly a year with triathlon legend Paula Newby-Fraser.

“When I first started, it was raining one day, and I even asked Paula if I should be running in the rain. I never thought I could run further than a mile,” Ward said. “This has been a life-changing experience for me.”

Belgium's Frederik Van Lierde won the Ironman World Championship, running down the leaders and bursting into the lead with less than 10 miles to go.

Australia's Mirinda Carfrae took the women's race for the second time, shaving nearly 2 minutes off the course record and lowering her own race marathon record by nearly 3 minutes.

In muggy but calm conditions, the 34-year-old Van Lierde finished in 8:12:29 to become the second Belgian winner. It was the eighth-fastest time in the 35-year history of the event.

“I tried to be smart, and it worked out,” said Van Lierde, who was third last year. “After last year, I believed I could do it. I worked hard this year. This is amazing. I don't understand yet what this means to me. This is the best crowd you can imagine. Thank you so much, everybody.”

Australia's Luke McKenzie was second, followed by Germany's Sebastian Kienle.

Luc Van Lierde was the first Belgian winner in 1996. The two are not related but are good friends.

Carfrae, 32, also the 2010 winner, finished in 8:52:14 to break the mark of 8:54:02 set by Britain's Chrissie Wellington in 2009. She ran the marathon in 2:50:39 — the third-fastest overall time of the day.

“I felt unbelievable today. Beautiful weather,” Carfrae said. “And the crowd is incredible.”

Britain's Rachel Joyce was second, and countrywoman Liz Blatchford finished third.

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