Triathlete Qualified To World Championships Completes Ironman On Broken Ankle

April Lange has dealt with a number of injuries, but has never dealt with something quite like this...

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Meet April Lange, the unstoppable force from Evanston, Wyoming, who recently clinched her spot in the Ironman World Championship in Nice, France.

But what makes her story truly jaw-dropping?

She rocked the Ironman California race, running 24 miles on a broken ankle!

Triathlete Qualified To World Championships Completes Ironman On Broken Ankle 1
Photo Credit: Amanda Manchester

At 53, Lange isn’t your typical triathlete. 

She’s one of the 2,000 fierce women worldwide gearing up for the Ironman World Championship next September. And get this – she earned her ticket to France after juggling marathons, Ironmans, and even an Ultramarathon this year.

“I may have overdone it this year,” Lange said to local press, recounting her wild race schedule leading up to the Ironman California. 

The woman’s been through it all – broken collarbones, ribs, concussions, and even displacing her hip twice. 

“I had shingles and a muscle tear when I ran the Boston marathon,” she told her local herald.

But this injury was different. Surgery, metal plates, and screws – the whole shebang.

But a six-week recovery break? Not for Lange.

Triathlete Qualified To World Championships Completes Ironman On Broken Ankle 2
Photo Credit: Moritz Kosinski

“I started biking with a boot and swimming again right away,” she said to local press. Running’s still on hold until the doctor gives her the green light, but Lange’s been itching to hit the pavement.

A latecomer to the running game, Lange picked it up about a decade ago when she also got hooked on biking. 

“I actually learned to swim as an adult,” she also confessed to local press, showing that it’s never too late to dive into new challenges. 

The triathlon – swim, bike, run – plus the tricky fourth element, nutrition, keeps Lange on her toes. “Figuring out what to eat during a race? Now that’s an art,” she laughed.

Lange’s journey isn’t a solo gig; it’s a family affair.

Married for 32 years with nine kids (yep, you heard right), six of them have joined her on the race track. Her husband, Jonathan, plays a vital role, both in support and in “picking up the pieces,” as she says, especially after her spills.

But let’s talk about Ironman California – rain, wind, and Lange’s 112-mile bike ride took a beating. Then, the marathon kicks in, and two miles in, bam! Her left ankle begins giving her a world of trouble. 

“There was a torrential downpour and wind,” she said, “and so many accidents on the road.” 

Pain, agony, and a fear of a bad race looming, Lange yells to her family that she might’ve broken her leg.

“But I’m not having a bad race!” she declared to herself. 

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Photo Credit: Rico Doninelli

Cue the prayers, determination, and a dash of stubbornness. Lange pushed through the pain, finishing 10th out of 73 women in her age group, clocking in at 12 hours and 25 minutes.

Her secret to getting through the race? She says grit, coaches, and a childhood setting track records while battered and bruised. Additionally, she mentions her battles with depression, finding solace and therapy in training. Lange hopes her openness about it can inspire others who are facing their own struggles.

Now, she’s got her eyes on the next prize – the Ironman World Championship in Nice, France. 

Lange is getting ready for the big challenge, which includes 8,500 feet of elevation gain on the bike. “I can do hard,” she grinned. “I’d rather it be harder. I’m praying the whole time. There’s never been a race I’ve done on my own.”

April Lange’s story isn’t just about finishing races; it’s about overcoming whatever life throws at you. So, lace up your shoes, get on that bike, and take a page out of Lange’s book – because, broken ankle or not, this woman’s proving that nothing can stop her from crossing that finish line.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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