Flushing athlete wins chance to become Ironman champ

By Alex Robinson

For most people, training for Ironman triathlons would be a chore, but not for Anthony Chan.

The 23-year-old Flushing native has already competed in three Ironman competitions and will be headed to the world championships in Hawaii this fall.

“I didn’t think I would be going to Hawaii this soon. It’s definitely a surprise I improved so much over a year and half,” he said.

Chan grew up in Flushing and attended Archbishop Molloy High School before attending St. John’s University. He currently works at a bike store in Great Neck, L.I., full time and is getting ready to start his MBA in accounting, but still finds time at nights and on weekends to pursue his chocolate milk-infused triathlon dreams.

The former tennis player turned triathlete did his first competition in 2012 in Lake Placid, N.Y., after attracting the attention of Team Chocolate Milk, which sponsors young athletes to compete in the Ironman World Championships.

The gruelling races include a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon at the end.

Chan won one of two spots for the big tournament at a race in November in only his third triathlon.

“I definitely had to dig really deep at the end in the last 6 to 5 miles to make sure I didn’t fall off my pace,” he said. “It felt like someone was chasing me the entire race, so I had that sense of urgency to keep going and going.”

Chan spends eight months preparing for each race with arduous daily workouts and lots of chocolate milk afterward.

“That’s the first thing I grab after a race or workout,” he said. “It helps you rebuild. Ever since I started drinking it after workouts, I’ve been injury-free.”

He maintains his love of chocolate milk started long before the team started to sponsor him.

“It’s always been something I used throughout high school and playing tennis,” he said. “I always drank chocolate milk to begin with. When I first heard of the team, I thought I have to be on this team.”

Chan started off running in just half triathlons in 2011, but soon graduated to the full race.

“The opportunity came up through my team,” he said. “I jumped at it and fell in love with it. I love the atmosphere, love the training and stuck with it. I love competing.”

The world championship in October will present a different challenge for Chan as Hawaii’s climate will be much warmer than previous tournaments he has competed in. The race also does not allow wet suits to be worn for the swimming leg of the race.

Chan said it will be difficult to simulate the race day conditions of the island, but he will be ready either way — and he will have chocolate milk to help him along the course.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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