COEUR D'ALENE -- Believe it or not, there are elite Ironman competitors.
Among the 2,600 Ironman triathletes to compete in Coeur d'Alene Sunday, only about 53 are considered professionals.
The "pro group" includes people who have actually won Ironman triathlons before. It's also made up of people competing for a living.
Friday, those elite triathletes gathered to hear their instructions for the race, but many have already made the trip here several times just to scout out the course and plot their strategy.
Michael Lavato, a former Ironman Coeur d'Alene winner, says Coeur d'Alene is his favorite course.
"I won the first year it was here in 2003 and then I've come back three times since then and been in third place each time so I seem to be in a rut there," says Lavato. "I would like to bump back up to that first spot and I think it's a reasonable goal."
Training for the pros usually includes 12 to 15 miles per week of swimming and running about 40 to 50 miles per week.
On average the bicycles they use cost about $8,000.
The oldest professional male triathlete in the group is 42 and the oldest pro female is 53.
Many of the pros say that swimming is their least favorite event and the one they have to train the hardest for.