Central Texas mother now one of world’s best in her IRONMAN age group
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local school principal and busy mother of two who competed in her first triathlon in 2018 is now considered one of the best in the world.
Katie Messerall, 39, of Waco, finished 19th in the world for her age group of females ages 35-39 at the IRONMAN World Championship in St. George, Utah.
“It was an incredible experience,” Messerall said. “The race was harder that expected but I was trained up and ready.”
The Woodway Christian Assistant Principal’s 12 hours, 14 minutes and 39 second finish is awe-inspiring enough for the grueling competition which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride topped off by a 26.2 full marathon but making the feat even more impressive is the fact Katie just took up the sport a few years ago.
She did her first triathlon in 2018 and started with shorter distances working her way up to a half IRONMAN and then full IRONMAN.
She didn’t complete her first full distance IRONMAN until 2020 in Florida followed by her second in Waco in 2021, where Katie crossed the finish line as the 7th overall female, the first male or female from Waco, and qualified for the world championship.
The racecourse in Utah was designed to challenge the best athletes in the world. The water temperature was 60 degrees on race morning and the bike elevation gain was more than 7,300 feet while the run was nearly 1,500.
18 competitors in Katie’s age group were disqualified for not finishing the race.
“I went in knowing I wanted that finish line so badly and had a plan to make it happen,” Messerall said. “There are parts I would have liked to change, like I was not super happy with my swim, but we learn and take away something from each race. Overall, it was a great day.”
Katie’s been training for months under the guidance of coach Natasha Van Der Merwe, founder and owner of NVDM Coaching.
Because of her impressive finish at IRONMAN Waco, she is now also a sponsored member of the NVDM Elite Race Team.
Katie also coaches TEAM Waco, which consists of six racers chosen to receive extra support, gear and a scholarship for IRONMAN Waco.
The triathlete is also sponsored by BPN Supplements and Katie is a BPN Athlete. She said the support from near and far, but especially back home, makes the success while away possible.
“I think one of the things that has made this journey possible to get to IRONMAN World Championship is the amazing support that I felt from local businesses in Waco, specifically, Bicycle World and Waco Running Company, and then all of my sponsors and my amazing coach with NVDM coaching,” Messerall said.
“I would definitely not be sitting here in St. George ready to compete without all of that support and encouragement behind me.”
“It is amazing that we have those resources for us in Central Texas that we can launch triathletes to compete around the world,” she said.
Katie also won overall female this past year at the Miracle Match Half Marathon in Waco, setting a personal course record.
She’s now busy training for IRONMAN Waco in October.
Katie is offering track lessons Sunday mornings from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at Midway Rice Field which is free and open to the public for all ages and all skill levels.
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