Ironman triathlete receives hero’s welcome from Nocatee neighbors


Iron Man may be the name of a popular Marvel superhero, but Nocatee resident Patrick Schultz has his own claim to the title after having successfully completed the Ironman Chattanooga triathlon Sunday, Sept. 24.

“I’ve done a number of shorter-distance triathlons in the past, including a half Ironman, and I recently retired, so this was a great way to fill out all that available time I had,” Schultz said. “It was kind of a bucket list item for me to try to do an Ironman.”

The 11th race in the Ironman U.S. series, the Ironman Chattanooga – in Tennessee – includes a 2.4-mile swim down the Tennessee River, followed by a 116-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. While there were 1,980 participants in the race, only 15 were in Schultz’s age group of 65 to 92. Schultz, who is 66, finished 10th in that age group, clocking in at 15 hours, 21 minutes and 24 seconds.

 “It was incredibly rewarding,” he said of the experience. “As you are going across the finish line, they shout out, ‘You are an Ironman!’ It gets very emotional after you’ve been out there for 15 hours.”

The emotional roller coaster ride wasn’t over for Schultz, however. A member of Nocatee’s age-restricted Artisan Lakes community, he was shocked when he returned home Sept. 26 to find signs, banners, balloons, flags and his entire neighborhood ready and waiting to congratulate him on his big achievement.

“I was not expecting it,” Schultz laughed. “It was a lot of fun.”

Schultz’s dedication to achieving his goal was well-known throughout the Artisan Lakes community.

“I watched him for nine months, training every day, and he completed the race and it’s just awesome,” said Schultz’s next-door neighbor, Carol Martin, who helped to organize the surprise. “When somebody does something like that, how can you not want to throw a party?”

Artisan Lakes at Nocatee is a gated, active adult community for residents age 55 and older, and although it just opened last year, one might think the residents have been neighbors for years.

“There’s already a great community feel to it,” Schultz said. “Our neighbors—we’ve only been here a year, and they’re putting out posters for me and giving me a warm welcome, so we’ve really bonded, and it’s a great community. We really enjoy it.”

Having officially crossed the Ironman off his bucket list, Schultz said that he intends to move on to other activities now.

“It was a remarkable experience, but I don’t think I’ll do it again,” he laughed. “It was a ‘one and done’ for me.”