Westland woman who competes in Ironman competitions now in race to survive

Ironman competitor was training on her bike in Lapeer County when she was struck by a gravel hauler and severely injured

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A Westland woman used to excelling in grueling Ironman competitions now faces the race of her life; surviving a crash with a truck.

Amy Gluck, 40, was training for the Ironman World Championship when she was struck by a gravel hauler in Lapeer County last month.  

Dryden police said Gluck was traveling east on her bicycle on Dryden Road on September 15 when a gravel hauler traveling west attempted to make a left turn onto Havens Road driving right into Gluck.

Gluck suffered severe injuries.   Her sister, Kendi Gluck said she was in a coma, and has several broken bones.  She has come out of her coma but she has a long road of recovery ahead of her.  Gluck said it could be quite some time before they know the extent of her sister's injuries.

Amy Gluck was training for her fifth Ironman World Championship.   The race is held in Kona, Hawaii each year.  The race is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bake ride and a 26.2 mile run rolled into one event.  Gluck's sister said she was doing her last long ride before the big competition when the accident happened.

Gluck got into triathlons after a friend asked her to take part in a relay triathlon in 2004.   In 2005, she completed her first sprint-distance triathlon on a borrowed bike. Her sister said she quickly fell in love with the sport and really excelled at the Ironman competitions.

Gluck has competed in nine Ironman triathlons competing all over the world including in China, Cozumel, Mexico.  Her fastest Ironman competition was in Louisville in 2009 when she finished the 140.6-mile race in 10 hours, 22 minutes and two seconds.  Had she been able to compete on Saturday, it would have been her tenth Ironman race in five years.

Family, friends and fellow athletes are rallying around Gluck as she is in the race of her life, the race to survive.  

This Saturday October 13 they are holding a run and ride for her at the Island State Recreation Area in Brighton.   Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., but you can also register online beforehand by clicking here.  

The run/ride will begin at 10 a.m. The cost to participate is $30 and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to support Gluck during her recovery. Organizers said anyone who cannot participate can make a donation.

There will also be a silent auction that runs from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m.   Several items have been donated including from famous athletes like Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions, Valterri Filppula of the Detroit Red Wings and Ironman champion Dave Scott.

"The triathlon community has just been phenomenal," said Gluck.

Gluck urges everyone to pay attention to cyclists on the road.  According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, there were 1,895 bicycles involved in accidents with vehicles in 2011.   Of those accidents, 1,479 bicyclists were injured and 24 were killed.

Gluck said drivers need to realize that many cyclists can be traveling more than 25 miles an hour especially elite athletes like her sister.

Dryden police said they handed the case over to the Lapeer County prosecutors office to decide if charges should be filed against the driver.  Prosecuting attorney Byron Konschuh said they are still reviewing the case.

Athletes racing in the Ironman World Championship in Kona on Saturday are expected to be wearing "We Love Amy" sweat wristbands to show their support.  To see the sweat wristbands, click here.

The wristbands will also be sold at Level Mulitsport on Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham, Mich.

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