Published: Dec 08, 2010 3:39 PM EST
Updated: Dec 07, 2010 7:01 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla--In Jason Gunter's heart, he always wanted to become an Ironman. It turned out it would take his heart and mind to achieve his dream.

"For me growing up, I had always watched Ironman on television and it seemed like a really the biggest of biggest challenges," said Gunter describing why he always wanted to compete in the Ironman competition.

Before he could realize that dream, life would deal Jason a nightmare.

In 1992, he lost his arm and his leg in a boating accident.

"When I had my accident, I wanted to get back into training and so I just decided to choose something big. And I thought maybe someone can do an ironman with one arm and one leg. That's what I started training for," said Gunter.

Gunter finally had a chance to realize his dream when he landed a lottery spot in the 2009 Ironman in Kona.

He started out the race strong. He was doing well until mile 23 of the marathon portion of the race.

His struggle was captured by an Ironman competition photographer and played out on the same television coverage he watched as a kid.

His race ended just three miles short of the finish line.

"To me and me seeing myself going through that. And my family seeing that. It was tough and it was a driving factor," said Gunter.

Gunter wouldn't give up. He spent another year training and entered the ironman competition in Cozumel.

He made it through the swim, the bike and then came the marathon--the portion that had haunted Gunter for the past year.

"I pretty much had my game face on and didn't crack a smile until mile 22 23," said Gunter, "I could feel it but I wanted to cross that threshold and pretty much put to bed what happened in Kona."

This time Jason would cross the finish line proving it takes much more than physical strength to become an Ironman. It also takes everything that's in your heart.

"It's such an awesome feeling coming down that chute knowing you just completed 140.6 miles with time cut offs and in difficult conditions. Throwing in my challenges for me made it extra special," said Gunter, "If you could capture that feeling and sell it you would be rich."


There are many parts on our inteview with Jason Gunter that were not able to make our piece. The above video is a part of the interview that was on our cutting room floor.