Cheered on by Trista, parents Barbara and Bob Sutter and brother Chris, along with father-in-law Stan Rehn and a gaggle of friends, Sutter, 30, polished off a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and the marathon run in 11 hours, 38 minutes and 26 seconds. Crossing the finish line around 6:40 p.m. (roughly three hours behind winner Normann Stadler), he ran into the arms of his wife, sweeping her up in a very sweaty hug. "I'd hug you, too, but you wouldn't want that," he told well-wishers.
Like the other men of Iron, the Vail, Colo., firefighter (756th. among 1,580 finishers) was famished after the contest. Wearing a sleeveless tee that showcased his solid biceps, he hit Kona Style Fish n' Chips with the gang for fried mahi mahi with Coke. "People told me I did a pretty good job," says Ryan, who sees more such feats in his future: "Trista and I like to travel around, and [triathlons are] an excuse to go places."
Not that he necessarily needed it, but during the 26.2-mile run that capped the 2004 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 16, Ryan Sutter shouted out, "Say a prayer for me!" when the Reverend Clint Hufft saw him racing by. (Hufft, of course, being the minister who blessed the union of Ryan and Trista Rehn in a $4 million ceremony on ABC.) "Isn't that amazing?" said Trista, 32, who took it as a good omen that Hufft was visiting the island and came out to watch.