Bondy has second go at Kona comp
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.