The 13th annual "Aquaphor New York City Triathlon" - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

The 13th annual "Aquaphor New York City Triathlon"

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Three thousand athletes from around the world took the plunge - competing in the 13th annual New York City triathlon.

"I'm just taking it in just being in New York, looking around, it's great," said Therese Christo, Rochester, NY.

The race begins with a swim of just under a mile in the Hudson River. Then, there's a 24.85 mile bike ride along the Henry Hudson parkway. And finally - - a 6.2 mile run through Central Park.

“We're just throwing a 31 mile moving party for 3,000 people we haven't met before! So I'm just the wedding planner. It's a blast,” said John Korff, event organizer. “We love seeing people have fun in New York.”

Athletes come from 30 different countries and range in age from 18 to 78 years old. Fred Soward from the upper west side is competing for the very first time.

“My wife passed away about two years ago. And it motivated me to just keep on working and to keep on doing this -- so here I am," said Fred Soward, New York City

There are also dozens of Para-triathletes with unique physical challenges. Thomas Lee from Robbinsville, New Jersey is an amputee and this is his first triathlon.

"Being an amputee, I haven't been swimming that much. So the swim for me is the hardest part and the transition. The transition is hard enough for regular athletes, but it's even harder since I have to swap out equipment on my leg."

Also among this year's competitors is Jack Abernethy, the CEO of Fox Television stations competing for the fourth time.

"It feels terrific. It feels great a great day in New York. We got the all-star game on Tuesday a lot happening -- It's a fun time in the summer."

Also competing in the triathlon was Fox 5 Vice President and General Manager Lew Leone, competing in his fifth triathlon.

"It's just a great time. I really enjoy it. I have a smile on my face the whole way around. The crowds are great. It's just an iconic New York event."

After a grueling race it all comes down to this -- the finish line here in Central Park.

"It's a big endorphin release at the finish. So the emotion is satisfaction," said Bill Kelly, Chatham, NJ.

One of the top female finishers, Rebeccah Wassner, crossed the finish line holding her five month old daughter Amy.

"It's something that kept me going the whole time, getting back to racing and getting to cross the finish line of the New York City triathlon with my baby in my hands," said Rebeccah Wassner, New York City.

After the race, it's time for rest, relaxation and plenty of water. But the medal and the feeling of accomplishment make this day extra special.

"It feels like the first time every time. It's wonderful."

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