Categorized | Featured, Multi-sport, Sports

Ironman: Some photos, stats ‘n’ stuff

The last triathlete to finish under 17 hours. (Hawaii247 photo by Karin Stanton)

The last triathlete to finish under 17 hours. (Hawaii247 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Kevin Mackinnon wraps up the day of racing at the Ironman World Championship)

Just like I did earlier this year at Ironman France-Nice, I get to wrap today’s up by telling a story about an incredible woman.

A year and a half ago, Elizabeth Thompson was on holiday in Nice when she suddenly found herself on the floor, unable to move. She lost use of her arms and her legs. One eye started to twitch. Her body was shutting down too much for her to even think that she might be dying.

It turns out Thompson was having a stroke. Volunteer fire fighters took her to the hospital. She spent weeks in that hospital, starting the re-learning process that would involve learning how to walk and talk again.

Her first workout? Standing next to her bed. Her next one? Trying to walk across the room.

A year later, Thompson managed to finish Ironman France-Nice … well enough to qualify for today’s Ironman World Championship. Today she finished this race, too.

Today was a day where we learned just how challenging the Ironman Championship really is. Rudy Garcia-Tolson, an incredible double-amputee who has won medals at the Paralympics, who has set numerous world records and who has amazed the world again and again took part in today’s race.

fter a great swim, Garcia-Tolson rode 112-miles, using just his gluteal muscles to move himself along. He just missed the bike cut off. There are two things you can be sure of after watching his efforts today: he’s one of the most incredible human beings on the planet … and you can be sure he’ll be here again to take on this challenge again.

Matt Hoover, a man who won the “Biggest Loser” competition on television, gave it his best to be an official Ironman finisher here today. He came up just three minutes short, but put forth an impressive effort by finishing 2.4 miles of swimming, 112-miles of cycling and a marathon in 17 hours and three minutes.

Before that midnight finish, we saw some other incredible achievements. Among those was yet another finish for athletes like Lew Hollander and Harriet Anderson. There was Cherie Gruenfeld, setting yet another record as she continues her unbelievable string of impressive performances here at the Ironman World Championship.

Among the almost 1,700 finishes was one other that I need to make note of: that of Ted Spitaleri, who somehow managed to fit his own race in here while also managing to work tirelessly all week long as the event’s director of communications. He got four hours of sleep last night and a precious few the night before – putting everyone else’s race ahead of his own.

With people like that … and stories like that …could it be anything other than an amazing day?

It sure was. Thanks for joining us.

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