Thousand of athletes didn't let the hot and humid weather stop them from swimming, biking, and running their way across the city. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner has more on Sunday's New York City Triathlon. 

It was a perfect day for a swim, but this is hardly your ordinary dip. 

Wagner: "Did you ever think you'd be jumping into the Hudson River?"

 Queens resident Carlos Llaguno: "No and all my family thinks I'm crazy for jumping in the Hudson."

Some 4,000 athletes took that plunge, diving in just after dawn to kick off the 15th annual NYC triathlon. 

"The hardest part is getting up at 3am. But being here makes everything worthwhile," said Eddie Vega of the FDNY.

The strong current gave swimmers a leg up, making the first mile a favorite for many.

"I'm a swimmer so I like swimming in the Hudson although I suspect a lot of people will disagree with me," one athlete said.

"There's a lot of dead fish but it's really fun," another said.

Others prefer land and they certainly get to cover a lot of it.

First came 40 kilometers on a bike up and down a closed West Side Highway.

"There's no traffic. Beautiful scenery," said Patrick Tallon, who is from Canada.

That's followed by a 10k run in Central Park. The biggest challenge in this weather was not overheating. 

"You have to watch out for the hydration and with the run and the hills with the heat it kinda slows everyone down a little," one athlete said.

It doesn't slow them down too much though, since both the male and female winners finished in under two hours. The athletes ranged in age from 18 to nearly 80. Among them were plenty of first timers.

Athlete: "This is my first."

Wagner:  "Your first? How do you feel?"

Athlete: "Terrified!

What she should be worried about, her competitors say, is getting hooked. It seems once you start down this road, there's no putting on the brakes. 

Wagner: "You've done how many triathlons?"

Athlete: "Over 25 Olympic and Half Iron Man."

"It's probably at least 40 plus," said one athlete.

"It's really addicting so once you start don't plan on stopping anytime soon," another said.

Many athletes found inspiration in the fans and volunteers who line the route—a two way street since they say they're also inspired by the racers. 

"It's amazing. Absolutely amazing. Watching the people go by. It's unbelievable," said spectator Liesl Townsend.

Participants come from all over the world—36 countries in fact. Even if they have dozens of triathlons under their belts, they say there's nothing like racing in New York. 

"Fabulous race. Fabulous people," one athlete said.

"I've done six half iron mans, I've been out to Kona, but there's only one New York," another said.

 "It's New York City so it's the best race on earth in the best city," one athlete said.