PETOSKEY — The goal is simply to get a spot on the podium.
But really there is nothing simple about what Ben McMurray is doing or trying to accomplish.
McMurray, a 2005 Petoskey graduate, has qualified for the 2013 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 12, where he will be hoping to be finish near the top in his 25-29 age group to earn his way to the podium in his second trip to the most prestigious Ironman event in the world.
"When I first went to Kona (in 2010) my goal was to just be on the podium for my age group," said McMurray, who competed in skiing, track and cross country in high school, then ran for Alma College. "I was 14th, so I fell short of that goal. I'm in a different age group now. I would be ecstatic if I was on the podium there. I would love to be top five."
Last month McMurray competed at the Lake Placid Ironman and placed first in his age group, and was 14th overall out of 2,537 competitors, in a time of 9 hours, 25 minutes and 8 seconds. That showing, in his fourth Ironman, was a 30-minute personal best and earned him his spot at the World Championships.
"I built my way back up and did this one again," said McMurray. "My buddy, Dave Smith, he's from Mancelona. He and I did this one together. He kind of talked me into signing up a year ago and then we both did it a couple of weeks ago. In 2010 I was there (in Hawaii) and I'm giving it another shot this October."
Smith fell short of qualifying for the World Championships, though he placed fifth in his age group — the top three qualified — in a time of 10:06 in his first try at an Ironman. He has done other triathlons over the past seven years.