By Travis Gupton
Two years ago the Riverton Wolverines’ own Soren Bang signed up to compete in his first Ironman competition in Hawaii. Then the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll. The race was canceled for two years. Then after two years of waiting the time came on May 7 in St. George Utah for Bang.
Late on Saturday night Bang completed the grueling Ironman with just under an hour to spare. Bang crossed the finish line after 16 hours seven minutes and 31 seconds. He finished the swim in an hour and 21 minutes and seven seconds. He started the longest part and he said the toughest part of the race was the 112 mile bike ride at 8:55 a.m. He finished the bike ride around 5:49 p.m. and then the 26.2 mile run that he finished at 11:29 p.m.
Soren was the youngest competitor in the race at the young age of 18. Bang’s father was in the race as well, which Bang said is not his fathers first rodeo in an ironman race. “My father has been working with me for a while,” Bang said. “ He has done over 20 Ironmans himself so he is pretty prepared for it.”
Bang said that this is something that his family has been doing for a long time from his mom to his brothers and now since he was 18 he wanted to join in with his family. “ I have a lot of brothers,” Bang said. “ My oldest brother Sheldon was actually the first to do an ironman with my father. He has done two ironmen. Once he did it my other brothers had to jump in. They couldn’t be the only ones not to do one and it just went down the line and now it is my turn.”
The week before the race Bang had one mission on his mind, which was to cross the finish line within the 17 hour time limit. “Being generous with the times and giving myself an extra 30 minutes or so. Depending on the weather and whatever else happens I think I can finish the bike and the run together in 15 hours at the most,” Bang said. “ I can probably do it under that. You have to finish the whole race in 17 hours. That would give me two hours for the swim. I base that off my mom. She said she can do the swim in an hour and 40 minutes. I am usually a little faster than her at that so I think I can finish it in an hour and 20 or something like that.”
Bang plays on the soccer team for Riverton who will play in the State Tournament coming up on May 19. Bang will still practice and will still participate in the state tournament. “The thing is I am still going to have soccer practice right after,” Bang said. “ I feel like coach will be a little understanding but I can’t do nothing.”
Bang is also a senior so he will also be graduating after the state tournament on May 22.
When Bang entered the Iroman race he knew that he had pressure on himself to represent not only his school and city but to him most importantly his father. “My family always talks about how this is one of the greatest achievements they have ever made,” Bang said. “Obviously I am doing it for my father. He has been doing it for a long time and he has inspired me to do it. I talked to my brother Sheldon and he said when he looks back he says this is the greatest thing he has ever done… I feel like I am representing everyone. I feel like I am representing myself, my family, Riverton, and Riverton High School. I don’t know of anyone who went to Riverton High School, besides my dad, who has done this at this young of an age.”
Soren said after this race he would do absolutely nothing and he said he may do another race at some point in the future.