Philadelphia Flyers development coach Ian Laperriere wasn't sure what would happen Sunday, but it ended up being one of the most fulfilling days of his life.
The 39-year-old recovered from a fall two weeks ago that left him with a recurrence of the same concussion symptoms that had ended his 16-season playing career to finish his first Ironman, completing the Ironman North American Championship at Mont-Tremblant (Quebec) in 12 hours, 11 minutes, 55 seconds.
He finished 124th of the 258 finishers in the Men's 35-39 division.
Laperriere had arrived in Mont-Tremblant, about a 90-minute drive northeast from his hometown of Montreal, last week to prepare for a race he wasn't sure he would be able to take part in.
During a final training ride near his home in southern New Jersey, Laperriere skidded on wet railroad tracks and fell off his bike, and told NHL.com, "I hurt my neck. I'm moving fine, but I got those headache symptoms that I know too well."
Laperriere had trained for more than six months for his big moment.
"That's what is so depressing right now, I want to cry," Laperriere told NHL.com late last week. "I felt great. I have issues with my eye, but that's from the nerve damage from when I took that puck [in the face in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs]. But for what I'm feeling now, I haven't had that in a year and a half or two years. … It happened two weeks ago and I was hoping two weeks ago I would get better and haven't felt that much better. I feel like I'm back where I was in 2010 in the playoffs, just hoping to be 100 percent again."
Laperriere said he was hopeful treatment in Montreal could cure him, and it worked well enough for him to take part in the race. He completed the 2.4-mile swim in 1:13:00; the 112-mile bike ride in 5:42:56; and 26.2-mile run in 5:05:21.
The 12-hour finish was right where he was hoping to be.
"Around 12 hours would be something I'd be happy with," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's a crazy distance. You never know what can happen, in training and the race, and you just have to be happy to finish it."
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
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