I like October for many reasons. The weather is finally about to change here in Houston and that helps make training a little more enjoyable, the current race season is about to end and excitement builds as race plans for next year are already running around in my head, and best of all…Ironman Hawaii takes place. Year after year the personal stories that unfold out on that 140.6 mile course are truly inspiring. While the athletic feats of the pro athletes are amazing in and of themselves, it is the age-groupers who capture my heart and motivate me to get back out there time and time again. Ironman makes many of us believe that anything is possible.
Some of my favorite stories from the 2015 GoPro Ironman Hawaii World Championship race this year…
-Multiple time IM Hawaii competitor, Carlos Moleda, was back out on the course this year. Moleda, a Navy SEAL, who was paralyzed while in the line of duty in 1989 and became the first handcycle athlete to break 11 hours at the IM World Championship, finished second in the PC division this year. I have followed his racing throughout the years, as well as the work he has done for the Challenged Athlete Foundation. An inspiring individual who has not dwelled on what was taken from him, but instead teaches all of us to focus on what we have.
-Lew Hollander, at 85 years old, was at the start line of the 2015 Ironman World Championship as the oldest competitor ever at the event. For me, his story and the advice he shares is refreshing. The fact that he was at the start line inspires me to keep going and to remember the adage that age is but a number. Lew completed the swim and bike portion but ran out of time before the finish line cut-off. Ironman can be unforgiving in that the time cut-off does not change regardless of age, weather conditions, bike mechanical issues, etc. Regardless, Lew started the race and gave it his best. There is no doubt he is an inspiration to others to keep going, and to press the limits of what we think is possible.
-The Women’s 50-54 Champion, mother, and running legend, Colleen De Reuck, who ran a 3:19 marathon split in this year’s Ironman Hawaii is an athlete and mother I respect beyond measure (at 40 years old she qualified for the US Women’s Olympic Marathon Team in 2004) . I think it takes a lot of courage to enter a “new” sport as she has done…and for those of us who did not grow up on swim team, well, we know the difficulties of learning how to swim as an adult! But, by watching another athlete like Colleen, whom I have admired for many years now, I am encouraged to try new things, take risks, and step out of my comfort zone.
This race had 2000+ athletes which means there are 2000+ stories out there, all with their individual journey and reason to race. However, the inspiration is not reserved to Ironman athletes or races only. It is yours for the taking as well…so do not be intimated to set out on your journey, whatever it may be.