Thousands compete in Ironman Arizona

TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - For 40 years, Ironman Arizona has been making dreams come true, and Saturday, thousands gathered at Tempe Beach to compete.

It's an impressive feat, swimming, biking and running. Each participant in Ironman Arizona comes with a story, and so do their fans.

"My son that has cancer is doing the Ironman, he has stage 4 cancer, Paul," said Rose Moritz.

Rose says Ironman is the place where her son feels strong and capable even when battling cancer.

"I am so proud of him, he is such a fighter, this is his third and he doesn't give up so we can't either, so we came from Nebraska to watch him, daughter from West Virginia came to watch him and a daughter from Missouri, so his four sisters are here and his mom," said Moritz.

Kari Kassodji came from Texas to watch her husband.

"He's doing good, cold start, cold water, but now he's warming up," said Kari Kassodji.

She says even though her husband is in his 50s, Ironman gives him confidence.

"A lot of hours of training, this is his fourth Ironman this year, his first year ever competing and he's 54," said Kassodji.

From the electric crowd, to the heart-pounding race, there's nothing about Ironman that isn't exhilarating. That's why so many say they keep coming back for more.

"We love the community, I did it in 16 she did it in 17 and it's just always a great community event and everybody's just super supportive," said Shawna Glasser.