Longtime Ironman Reaching for World Championships - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Longtime Ironman Reaching for World Championships

Ivan Tucker Ivan Tucker

All IRONMAN racers are fierce competitors.

"It's a lifestyle...the toughest 1 day sport on earth," said IRONMAN Ivan Tucker.

Tucker is no stranger to this lifestyle. This year was his 6th IRONMAN.

"From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, everything surrounds this race," he said.

And, this 2015 race is especially important to Ivan because it's a race he never thought he'd be able to complete.

That's because 5 years ago, Ivan was diagnosed with scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease.

"At that point they told me I had 5 years to live, and I had to live with that for 6 months," said Ivan. "The hardest 6 months I'd ever gone through...I gained 20 pounds in 2 weeks, and my hands were locked down so tight that I couldn't hold on to a pencil."

But, Ivan quickly learned, the more he moved, the better he felt.

"Boy I fought, I did, I took it to a whole new level."

And, when his condition started to improve, his doctors changed his diagnosis to eosinophilic fascitits.

Ivan can live with this auto-immune disease, and now, he can't stop moving.

Every day of the week, he racks up mile after mile on his bike, in the water, and on the road, running. He also teaches exercise classes at gyms around Spokane and finds time to work for Fire District 4.

He only stops moving, for chemo, once a week.

"It's a full on migraine right off the bat," he said.

Ivan is usually out of commission for close to 12 hours after his treatment, and will likely be on chemo for the rest of his life.

But even this is not enough to keep Ivan from doing what he loves, being the best, pursuing his dreams, and being an IRONMAN.

"I went through a period of time when I said why, why is that happening to me? " said Ivan. "And now I know why - because I am inspiring people to get up and move."

And now, tougher than ever, Ivan can see another race just past the Coeur d'Alene finish line.

"I want to prove to myself I can make it to the world championships and battle a disease at the same time," said Ivan.

This story was written by KHQ's Allison Flicker 

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