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Running, Riding Radiologist Heads For Ironman

September 8, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Nuclear Medicine
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Reading mammograms from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. might actually be the easy part of the day for radiologist Larkin Carter, MD.

Dr. Carter, director of imaging at Baptist Breast Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi, sandwiches two grueling workouts around his workday: an hour and a half in the morning and another 40 minutes in the evening. On weekends, he logs about 100 miles on his bicycle, runs two and a half miles, and adds some swimming.

As you’ve probably guessed, Dr. Carter competes in Ironman Triathlons, which involve swims, bicycle rides, and runs, all long-distance and all in the same day. On Sunday, he will race in the Ironman World Championship 70.3 at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada. He’ll swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles.

That’s a piece of cake compared with the October 8 Ford Ironman World Championship on the Big Island of Hawaii, for which Dr. Carter has also qualified. There, in the original Ironman Triathlon (first run in 1979), competitors go double the distances: 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles riding, and 26.2 miles running.

In an interview this week in the Jackson Free Press alternative newspaper, Dr. Carter said:

It is exciting to be the first athlete from Mississippi to qualify for both the Las Vegas and Kona event. Only a few [Mississippi] athletes have qualified for Kona, and none have qualified for Vegas.

Baptist Breast Health Center sponsors him, which is why he competes with bright pink bicycle wheels. According to a Mississippi Medical News interview, he works his triathlon experiences into pep talks for the center and for breast cancer patients. For example: “Consistency is the most important piece of the puzzle, whether winning an Ironman competition or beating breast cancer.”

The Breast Health Center, incidentally, is designed specifically for the comfort of women. “We recognize that women would much rather come to a place with soft surfaces, appealing decor, and especially designed just for them without going down halls in a gown and running into your husband’s business associate,” Dr. Carter said. “At the Center for Breast Health, it’s a very private and peaceful environment with women-only gowned areas.”

On Sunday, Dr. Carter’s environment will be neither private nor peaceful, but he’s looking forward to the experience. “My most important goal,” he said, “is my hope to make Mississippi proud.”

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