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Tony Kanaan, An Iron Man On And Off The IndyCar Track

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IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan participates in triathalons to stay in shape.

Tony Kanaan, the defending champion in Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 250, is a fitness fanatic. He loves doing triathlons and is training for the Ironman competition in Hawaii this fall, so he might take off on a road run in between practice and qualifying runs with his No. 82 car.

“If you see me, people, don’t run me over,” Kanaan said.

Kanaan laughed as he said that, but he’s serious about training and staying in shape. He spoke Monday from Indianapolis en route to his workout for the day — a 40-mile bike ride.

Kanaan took up the individual triathlon disciplines in steps. The 36-year-old Brazilian started racing go-karts when he was eight and began swimming not long after that. He started running when he was 14 and added biking when he was 18.

Then, about 10 years ago, a friend suggested that as long as he was doing all three disciplines, Kanaan should give a triathlon a whirl. Kanaan did and was hooked. That it helped with his driving was a plus.

“My focus, my stamina, it helps a ton,” he said. “The way I’ve been active for so many years, I would never be right if I stopped. My body hurts more when I don’t work out than when I do.”

Last year, Kanaan competed in Ironman 70.3 events in Clearwater, Fla., and his hometown of Miami. Those involve a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. The Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 8 doubles those distances.

Read more: USA Today