Iron­man Heaven

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

Liv­ing the Kona Dream “Con­grats! You’re go­ing to Kona.”

I’ll never for­get that email no­ti­fi­ca­tion on March 17, 2015 and the rush of emo­tions that ac­com­pa­nied it. The ul­ti­mate joy and ex­hil­a­ra­tion of be­ing able to live out a dream of rac­ing at the event that in­spired my in­ter­est in triathlon, along with the slight trep­i­da­tion that I would toe the start line with the best Iron­man triath­letes in the world.

Onipa’a is a Hawai­ian word that means “to re­main stead­fast, re­silient and resolute.” It was the theme for the 2015 Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship and, with it tak­ing 17 years for me to get there, Onipa’a cer­tainly de­scribed my jour­ney to the Kona start line.

There were many ups and downs dur­ing those years. Great races, races plagued by bad luck, in­juries or ill­ness that ei­ther pre­vented me from start­ing or ham­pered any sort of qual­ity per­for­mance, or sim­ply day to day life that put con­straints on the train­ing nec­es­sary to put in a per­for­mance wor­thy of Kona qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

At sev­eral points dur­ing those years, I did not think that I’d ever get to Kona, but for­tu­nately there are a num­ber of ways to punch your ticket there. Of course you can do it the way we’d all like: be fast and scoop up one of the age group spots. But, thanks to Iron­man CEO An­drew Mes­sick, the cre­ation of the Legacy pro­gram (open to ath­letes that have com­pleted a min­i­mum of 12 full-dis­tance Iron­man races who haven’t started at the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship) opened the doors to hun­dreds like me.

Many Legacy ath­letes feel guilty be­cause we didn’t qual­ify the “reg­u­lar” way, but in re­al­ity it is just an­other way to qual­ify, and it’s not nec­es­sar­ily any eas­ier. You need to be tal­ented and to put in a lot of work to get to Kona, but luck is in­volved too. Many Legacy ath­letes missed qual­i­fy­ing for Kona by one age group spot al­lo­ca­tion (for ex­am­ple, plac­ing sec­ond at a race where there was only one age group spot), en­coun­tered me­chan­i­cal is­sues while lead­ing their age group, or ex­pe­ri­enced ma­jor in­juries while at the peak of their fit­ness. Iron­man ath­letes all Con­tin­ued on p.70

Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship 2015, Kona

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