Categorized | Featured, Multi-sport, Sports

Ironman athletes continue to awe, inspire

Lew Hollander (Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

(Editor’s Note: For complete race results, visit:

After the new world champions are crowned, the crowd along Alii Drive turns its attention to the more than 1,800 amateur triathletes who want to hear those words: YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

A total of 1,982 athletes started the race. They ranged in age from 19 to 82 and hailed from 64 countries and all 50 states.

Men made up 72 percent of the field; women, 28 percent.

By the midnight cut off, 1,886 crossed the finish line.

The finish line stays packed with family, friends, residents and visitors – loud and encouraging – right up until the last moment.

Like every year, this slate of athletes had some remarkable stories to tell. Here’s some highlights:

A handful of athletes were selected by fans after submitting videos to the Ironman YouTube channel. They are dubbed ‘Kona Inspired Athletes.’


When Shay was a young boy, he and his friend were accidentally lit on fire. Fortunately, he remembered to stop, drop and roll. Although both boys were badly burned, Shay’s quick thinking saved his life and his friend’s life.

Shay overcame a difficult childhood and intensive surgeries: he has now finished two of the toughest Ironman courses in the world.

Shay, who races for Phoenix Society to support burn victims, set a goal of 10 hours in Kona, but like everyone else he battled muggy, windy conditions.

Shay became an Ironman in 10 hours, 45 minutes and 49 seconds.


When Brady’s son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, he immediately took the high road: inspiration. That’s why Brady began competing in Ironmans – to show that even when the odds are stacked against thousands of others who are challenged with the disease, he can show them that anything is possible.

Brady completed his first long-distance race this year, Ironman St. George with a time of 12:26:19.

Brady races for Reece’s Rainbow and RODS Racing, which advocates adoption of children with Down Syndrome.

Brady became an Ironman in 10:51:32.


One month before Molli Serrano was about to compete in the Ironman Austria, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told that she had a 6 percent chance of surviving the next five years.

The 38-year-old mother of twins underwent a very aggressive surgery, during which doctors removed half of her stomach and pancreas, her gall bladder and a good portion of her intestines.

Having been competing in triathlon for more than 15 years, Molli never let cancer deter her from her Hawaii goal. She continued bike training with her radiation pack tucked in the back of her bike jersey during her radiation treatments and thinking about one thing: getting to Kona.

Molli now is cancer-free and raced to show everyone facing pancreatic cancer that anything is possible.

Molli became an Ironman in 11:31:38.


At a very young age, Annee Deering was a victim of sexual abuse. The trauma left her with chronic pain, migraine headaches, and post traumatic stress disorder.

As Annee grew older, she changed her perception and refused to be a victim. Athletic training became her therapy, endorphins became her medication, and her drive to win became her humbling dose of psychology.

She completed graduate school is now a critical care nurse at UCLA.

Annee completed her first long-distance race in Coueur d’Alene in a time of 12:17:17.

Annee became an Ironman in 11:52:31.


When Mike was just 10 years old, he was diagnosed with an acute type of leukemia. He faced a tough road with 75 surgeries, two bone marrow transplants and a 12 and a half hour facial reconstruction surgery.

Mike, now 26, celebrates life by training for Ironman events and defying what doctors told him would be impossible.

Mike became an Ironman in 12:53:41.


When Heather was 21, her mom was diagnosed with ALS. The disease progressed rapidly, and Heather became her mom’s primary caregiver for last three years of her life.

After she lost her mom, Heather began coping in self-destructive ways by drinking every day and smoking cigarettes, and at one point weighed more than 300 pounds. Heather realized that if her poor behavior continued, it could negatively impact the rest of her son’s life.

She created a whole new life by losing half of her body weight (157 pounds), getting sober and living the Ironman lifestyle, participating in triathlons across the country.

Heather’s Ironman journey began when she watched Jon Blais race Kona in 2005 after being diagnosed with ALS. He gave her hope and inspired her to believe that anything is possible.

Heather competed in memory of her mom and the Blazeman.

Heather became an Ironman in 13:53:50.


In 2004, BethAnn was running in the Marine Corps Marathon when she felt a strange pop in her head. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Through her battle with brain cancer, she has had two surgeries, learned to stand, walk and run again. Since her diagnosis, BethAnn has completed the Lake Placid Ironman twice and has completed several marathons.

She also founded TeamBT, which has raised more than $250,000 for the National Brain Tumor Society.

Although BethAnn still is battling brain cancer, she has realized her dream of competing in Kona.

BethAnn became an Ironman in 15:13:42.

Fireman Rob (Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)


Rob is not your average firefighter. He works in Madison, Wisc. and has finished eight Ironman events just this year, completing the run portion of the race in a full fireman uniform.

Because he hauls about 100 pounds of equipment, his was one of the slower run splits at 7:42:13.

He is attempting to compete in 10 Iron-distance races this year.

Rob races for Code 3 for a Cure, a charity that helps firefighters and their families affected by cancer.

Fireman Rob became an Ironman in 16:40:03.

Bonner Paddock (Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Bonner Paddock

Bonner Paddock, 37, of Newport Coast, Calif. likes to make things happen.

After a string of incorrect diagnoses, a physician identified Paddock with cerebral palsy at the age of 11. He was told he most likely wouldn’t live past his early 20’s, a prognosis he has squashed with remarkable strength and numerous accomplishments.

Paddock, the first person with cerebral palsy to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, became the first person with cerebral palsy to finish Ironman (while raising money for UCPA-Hawaii).

The marketing executive finished 206th in the age group. His time was 16:38:35.

Ironman 1994 world champion Greg Welch was his coach. Welch tweeted: Done and dusted! 20 months, 30 lbs, 1,500 hours of training = 16.38 in Kona…PRICELESS!

Harriet Anderson (Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Oldest and Youngest Finishers

Three men over the age of 80 completed the race.

Hiromu Inada, 80, of Yachiyo, Japan (15:38:25) won the division, while Lyle Roberts, 81, of Burlington, Iowa (16:40:46) and Lew Hollander, 82, of Redmond, Ore. (16:45:52) rounded out the podium.

The oldest woman finisher is a familiar face to Ironman followers.

Harriet Anderson, 77, of San Carlos, Calif. was the sole finisher in the 75-59 age division. Her time was 16:59:19.

Even though she came across the finish line just 41 seconds before the midnight cut off, thousands of spectators were there to greet Ironman 2012’s final finisher.

On the flip side, the 18-24 age division featured 70 up-and-coming men and women.

In the men’s division, 41 started the race; 41 finished it.

The top three: Matt Burton of Australia (9:01:27), Nicholas Baldwin of Great Britain (9:13:39) and Philipp Mock of Germany (9:24:42).

For the women, 28 athletes started the race; 26 finished it.

The top three: Allison Linnell of Florida (10:16:31), Maria Lemeseva of Russia (10:22:15) and Samantha Morrison, U.S. Air Force Academy (10:35:46).

The youngest women’s competitor, Andi Cirbari, finished 10th in the division at 11:44:26.

Garrett Oka (Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Big Island Athletes

Twenty-five Big Island residents lined up at the start.

The Big Island champs are Andrew Penny and Andrea Bess.

Penny, a 38-year-old Kona firefighter, finished in 10:20:17. He was 121st in his age group.

Bess, 35-year-old Waikoloa fitness consultant, finished in 10:58:34. She was 23rd in her age division.

The day’s last Big Island finisher was Garrett Oka.

The 39-year-old Kona dentist was the 1,873rd athlete to run down Alii Drive. His time was 16:34:35.

Complete list of Big Island finishers

10:20:17 Andrew Penny, Kailua-Kona

10:51:11 Keish Doi, Kailua-Kona

10:58:34 Andrea Bess, Waikoloa

11:55:40 Korey Pulluaim, Kailua-Kona

11:57:46 Mark Ravaglia, Waimea

12:06:08 Matthew Bergey, Kailua-Kona

12:14:31 Mathew Adams, Kailua-Kona

12:15:06 Sylvia Ravaglia, Waimea

12:18:15 Yanis Nora, Keauhou

12:34:38 Jeremy Withrow, Kailua-Kona

13:00:08 Susan Nixon, Waimea

13:06:37 Solomon Singson, Kailua-Kona

13:25:55 Cassidy Landes, Kailua-Kona

13:33:23 Tim Wiley, Kailua-Kona

13:47:57 Alika Hoomana, Kailua-Kona

13:59:11 Chris Chang, Kailua-Kona

14:09:10 Michael Hamilton, Keauhou

14:16:19 Tiffany Lindsey, Kailua-Kona

14:27:21 Bill Greineisen, Volcano

14:40:53 John Simmerman, Waimea

14:49:01 Brandon Perea, Hilo

14:57:26 David Estess, Kailua-Kona

16:00:06 Bryan Sawaya, Kailua-Kona

16:34:35 Garrett Oka, Kailua-Kona

Executive Challenge Athletes

* Randy Christofferson (MIOGA Ventures, LLC) – 13:42:59
* Ghislain Grandisson (Canadian Tire) – 10:56:24
* Carl Wernicke (Oak Hill Advisors) – 11:46:37
* William Wiseman (Cumming Construction Management, Inc) – 11:36:17
* Derek Glanvill (McCarthy Holdings, Inc) – 13:43:52
* Guy Berkebile (Guy Chemical Company) – 11:15:34
* Luis Alvarez (SAG MECASA S.A. DE C.V.) – 14:30:10
* Mark Moses ( – 13:32:27
* Guneet Bajwa (Presidio Companies) – 13:54:36
* Jerome LeJamtel (Natixis) – 11:17:49
* David Zucker ( – 11:39:14
* Dan Foehner (Facebook) – 10:53:13
* Robert Reuther (Carolina Eyecare Physicians) – 14:19:32
* Michael Morales (Corporacion Industrial, S.A) – 11:47:30
* Erique Sanchez (Nueva Generation) – 11:01:36
* Phil Richards (Smartpayroll and Smart Centre) – 10:59:51
* Jamie Van Vuren (Bee Line) -13:20:02
* Mark Watt (William Blair & Co) – 11:30:28
* Adrian Maizey (Rand Group, LLC) -11:59:23
* Barbara Ann Bernard (Holowesko Partners Ltd.) – 12:42:00
* Jim Callerame (International Paper Company) – 14:25:51
* David Klvac (PostRock Energy Corporation) – 16:02:14
* David Spartin (Twin Lakes Brewery) – 15:49:07

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