Bondy has sec­ond go at Kona comp

Kapi-Mana News - - GARDENING - By KRIS DANDO

Ac­com­plish­ing any­thing in 40-de­gree heat de­serves some sort of ac­co­lade – but an iron­man event for the sec­ond time de­serves some­thing spe­cial.

Ti­tahi Bay ath­lete Ann Bondy, who turned 60 this year, com­peted in her sec­ond Kona Iron­man on Oc­to­ber 9, plac­ing eighth out of 22 in her age group and fin­ish­ing in slightly more than 13 hours and 50 min­utes.

The gru­elling event takes the par­adise-fac­tor out of Hawaii with a 3.9 kilo­me­tre swim, 180km bike ride and 42km run. Weeks later ex­haus­tion is still tak­ing its toll on Bondy– mainly be­cause she had to get straight back into her job as a se­nior lec­turer for Vic­to­ria Uni­ver­sity’s Fac­ulty of Ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘It’s been tough, I’m still get­ting over the whole thing. It was amaz­ing to go there and be a part of Kona but it took a lot out of me.’’

New Zealand’s four pro­fes­sional en­trants – Gina Craw­ford, Jo Lawn, Cameron Brown and Terenzo Boz­zone – ei­ther fin­ished well down the field at Kona or not at all. Along with the sap­ping heat there was the ‘‘in­cred­i­ble’’ winds, of­ten in your face, that just sapped your en­ergy, Bondy says.

She saw plenty of ath­letes be­ing sick, dur­ing and af­ter the race.

The stan­dard of com­peti­tors was high, but the Ki­wis, as ex­pected, fared well. Out of the 39 that en­tered, eight fin­ished in the top 10 in their cat­e­gory.

Bondy’s lead-up to Kona wasn’t ideal. Aside from run­ning and cy­cling for months in the wind and rain, she for­got to pack the Mar­mite – for the salt in­take – and suf­fered a gash to her head at the ac­com­mo­da­tion in Hawaii.

This ac­ci­dent also led to a back in­jury that re­quired treat­ment and she took her po­si­tion on the start-line full of painkillers. When Bondy saw some of the other com­peti­tors, how­ever, it put her ail­ments into per­spec­tive.

One was com­plet­ing his 25th Kona Iron­man at 80, there was a for­mer ma­rine who had re­cently had chemo­ther­apy and needed to stop of­ten to stretch his can­cer­rid­den back, while other en­trants were missing limbs.

‘‘When you see that you say ‘what am I wor­ried about, who am I to griz­zle?’ What I went through was noth­ing.’’

Bondy wasn’t happy with her time, strug­gling in the swim and bike ride, the lat­ter due to fierce head and cross­winds. She was happy, how­ever, to over­take some young men close to the fin­ish line and, con­sid­er­ing ‘‘about 80 per cent’’ in her age 60-plus cat­e­gory gave their pro­fes­sion as ‘‘re­tired’’, she was sat­is­fied with her plac­ing.

‘‘I have a full-time job, I can’t spend all my time trav­el­ling and train­ing like these other women can.

‘‘I came out of a mis­er­able win­ter and full-on work sched­ule, I trained my back­side off when I could, and fin­ished in the top 10. I’m okay with that. When I got closer to that fin­ish line and you could hear the mu­sic and peo­ple cheer­ing you on, you wake up a bit and go faster. I didn’t cry but I def­i­nitely got emo­tional.’’

So is that the last trip to Kona?

‘‘Straight af­ter­wards I said ‘no way, never again’, but I’ve changed my mind al­ready. My friend and I have made a pact to go back ev­ery five years – if I can’t beat some of these oth­ers out there, I’m go­ing to out­live them and get on that podium!’’

Windy ride: Bondy, seen here mid-ride at Kona, says there is lit­tle chance to en­joy the im­pres­sive vol­canic land­scape and sweep­ing sea views when the mind is fo­cused on keep­ing the body mov­ing.

Iron­man bling: An im­pres­sive medal awaited those that com­pleted the bru­tal Kona Iron­man on Oc­to­ber 9. Ann Bondy added ‘‘more bling’’ to the ac­co­lades and awards she al­ready holds.

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