Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ironman

I was in Maui several weeks ago for some R&R and I realized that my vacation was overlapping the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I have sort of lost track of Ironman events since I started devoting more time to AR and off-road triathlons. However, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to see this amazing event. I purchased an inter-island trip the day before the race and was heading to the race start 12 hours later.

I am finding it difficult to describe the experience of this event. It was magical, exhilarating, inspiring, extraordinary...it was simply epic!! There was so much energy between the athletes and the fans cheering for them. The whole event was oozing fitness and health and I've never seen so many fit people in my life (athletes and spectators).



2006 Ironman Champion Norman
Stadler starting the run.

I watched the top pros and age groupers finish and decided I needed to start making my way back to the airport for my 10pm flight. Instead of waving down a taxi I decided to walk the 7 miles to the airport along the Queens K Highway. This is the infamous highway that the marathon portion of the race is run. Walking the highway in the dark with athletes who had been out on the course for 13+ hours and still had several hours to go was very emotional. Some of the athletes were overcoming "off" days while others were performing to their highest ability, but the amazing thing was their positive attitude, good humor and mental focus on the finish. The 2 hour walk/jog to the airport along the Queens K Highway during the 2006 Ironman Championships will never be forgotten.
3rd place finisher Kate Majors

No comments: