Athletes and their supporters celebrated the return of the Indian Wells La Quinta Ironman race after the pandemic put a pause on last year’s race.
Carissa McMasters came from San Diego to cheer on her running group.
“As a spectator and cheering on my friends, I just love it. I've missed it so much and it really just fills my heart to be here again," said McMasters. "Just being in the community of people. I don't even know- just the energy or like friends you make on the day of, you know, I've been cheering with a gal I just met today."
McMaster's running group mate, Hilary Mattes, did the running part of the race.
“This is my first in-person race since 2019. So it's just amazing to be out here, have the support," said Mattes. “It's just such a great feeling and just to be around all these athletes and all these inspiring people.”
The finish line was a moment of pride for the athletes. One of the race’s star athletes from Italy, Guglielmo Schiavoni, finished fourth overall and first in his age group.
“I made it and I'm super proud to be here and finally over with this situation with COVID. Yeah, I’m glad we're back," said Schiavoni.
This is his third time back in the valley for the Ironman.
“So today was all in or nothing and I'm super glad I had my friend here spectating and cheering for me and they gave me an extra push," said Schiavoni.
Athletes and supporters embrace the friendly competition they missed out on last year.