Utah man with multiple sclerosis to compete in Ironman

Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-22 20:24:03-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- Lyle Anderson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on his 30th birthday, which was about seven years ago, and since that time he’s completed seven marathons, four half-Ironman races and one full Ironman race.

Come October, he’ll complete in the Kona Ironman, which is one of the most prestigious races known to man.

“Some days I’m just worn out, and it’s hard training for an Ironman on those days because you really have to kick your butt out the door to go work out because you just don’t want to,” Anderson said. “You just want to lay down.”

Some days are better than others for Anderson. The 36-year-old  father of four was diagnosed with relapse remitting MS, which means he’ll have periods of little to no symptoms and then he’ll experience flare ups.

“It was pretty bad for a while there,” Anderson said. “I lost a bunch of weight cause my digestive system wasn't working. Basically everything that could go wrong went wrong with me.”

Anderson chose to get active and started running marathons, then triathlons, and just last year he finished one of the most respected endurance races in the world: the Iromman. An Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a full marathon, 26.2 miles, on foot.

“I talk to people all the time who say, 'I could never run a marathon, or I could never do that,' and I’m like, 'Yeah, you can,'” Anderson said. “Really it’s all in your head. If you tell yourself you can do it you can do it.”

Anderson’s father, Fred, calls him an inspiration.

“They said it was a very serious onset of MS, and that he could be in a wheel chair…now he went in for an MRI and they told him, ‘If we didn’t know you had MS we’d say you didn’t have it at all,’” Fred Anderson said.

Lyle Anderson’s symptoms don't come often and usually consist of pain in his joints, numbness in his hands and fatigue, but he said he feels more pain and soreness on the days when he skips a workout.

Anderson got the bid to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii through the Kona inspired contest. His triathlon club submitted a video of his story, and he won. Anderson seeks no recognition or praise. For him, it’s more about making the most of his abilities while he can.

“It’s more fuel for the fire because I want to be able to say that I did as much as I could while I was healthy,” Lyle Anderson said. “If I ended up in wheelchair tomorrow I can look back at what I’ve accomplished and say, ‘Hey, I have no regrets.’”