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Wounded Warrior vets train for para-triathlon
The served their country and came home hurt.
This weekend on Pensacola Beach, some of those Wound Warriors are using athletics to aid their recoveries.
More than a dozen para-triathletes from across the country are going through a training camp at Portofino Island resort.
"Team Semper Fi" organized the 3 day event.
Channel 3's Kavontae Smalls talked with some of the athletes.
"To run, bike and swim 11 miles in less than an hour is quite a feat for most people, especially for these veterans."
At one time, each of these men and women proudly wore a military uniform.
And for one reason or another, many of them were medically discharged.
Some lost limbs or suffered traumatic injuries.
As part of their on-going road to recovery, they've taken an interest in triathlon training.
They had to swim, bike, and jog several miles to complete the challenge.
Chris Goener, US Navy, said "the last few days we've been learning how to do open water swims, swim strokes, bike handling."
Chris Goener knows all about testing his abilities.
He was a Navy Corpsman attached to the US Marines.
He served 2 tours in Iraq.
After his 2nd deployment, he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.
"I was medically discharged in October of 2006, and ever since then there have been ups and downs on the road to recovery, and I'm just happy the triathlon is part of that."
Nathan Dewalt has been a mentor for the para-triathlon on athletes.
He too served in the Navy, before suffering a spinal cord injury.
Now he's on the USA World Championship Team and a 2014 Rio paralympic hopeful.
"To see a smile on these guys faces just because they've finished the race, that's really what it's all about."
The mock triathlon is more about building confidence and camaraderie amongst the veterans, and less about who actually wins.
For Chris however, it meant a lot to be the 1st to cross the finish line.
"It was great being able to get my first win in the race, I don't care if there were 17 people, a win is a win."
If you'd like to get involved with team Semper Fi, just visit wear.com and click on newslinks.