Tri Hearter: Reflections on IRONMAN Boulder’s Epic Nature

Warren Mine

By Bill Plock

About 20 minutes after the last person crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Boulder, it hit me. That feeling of wow, what a great day. The next day at the awards ceremony it bowled me over just what had happened. The epic nature and vibe of an IRONMAN comes down to thousands of moments, some inspiring, others mesmerizing and many simply beautiful that causes the ultimate appreciation and respect for the race and the athletes. At some point it just becomes overwhelming if you let it–in a good way.

I was walking with 73 year old Warren Mine of California (the oldest to complete IM Boulder in 2017) to help him retrieve his bike talking about his race (his 20th+ IRONMAN) when champion Tim O’Donnell walked by on his way to get his bike. I kind of shook my head in disbelief and reflected. What a crazy sport I thought. Here is one of the top athletes in the world, having just won the race, simply going to pick up his bike, limping a bit and commenting how his legs hurt–like everyone else’s. When LeBron finishes a game I’m guessing he doesn’t even pick up his basketball shoes. The mingling of pro’s and amateurs all aiming for the same goal, with the same vulnerabilities, the same dedication and similar dreams and hopes sets triathlon apart. It endears all of us triathletes. It builds bonds and communities and lasts a lifetime.

To spectate IRONMAN Boulder for the first time convinced me more than ever that through this endeavor lives are changed. Relationships begin, are cemented, and are celebrated by a common event experienced uniquely for everyone. I parked myself for over two hours photographing hundreds of Colorado athletes as they entered the run course from T2. The relief and smiles to be on the run leg permeated most, and their hopeful gaze for a good run was greeted by hundreds of cheering people lining Boulder Creek. Hours passed. I walked miles, taking more pictures, cheering and remembering my runs on this creek for the past three IRONMAN Boulders. All I could think about was the love and support I always felt and that was the only thing I missed about not racing. It’s addictive and appreciated. I thought how lucky all these people were to experience it–especially first timers. They will never forget it.

Champion Tim O’Donnell awards finisher medals during the magical midnight hour

Later that night, during the last hour of the race, I simply sat a few feet from finishers who were greeted by Tim O’Donnell and his wife and three time IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae. The unofficial triathlon king and queen of Boulder graciously medaled each of the final age groupers. Most gazed in disbelief or were too dazed and confused to grasp the significance–but once they understood who was putting their arms around them, the smiles beamed.

To witness the tears, the joy, the pain, the end, and really the beginning of a new journey for so many sticks in my mind. Tears came to my eyes many times.

But no race is complete without recognizing those who win and rise above. Those who persevere the most, overcome amazing challenges and earn one of the toughest and most coveted entries in all of sport–a chance to compete in Kona. A spot reserved for the top 2%. The dreams of the athletes, their families and coaches hang in the balance of getting a spot.

It’s not as clear cut as you might think. Going into the awards all that is known is that 40 spots are awarded. They are then divided among all age groups proportional to how many people raced in the age group.

Some age groups have one entry, others as many as three of four. But not every athlete chooses to go or some have an entry from

EK Endurance Sports, Vixxen Racing & BTC Elite Coach Eric Kenney

an earlier race so their spot rolls down. Each time an athlete’s name is called and there is no response, some athlete hoping and waiting erupts in emotion–some show it more than others and it is wonderful to witness (you must be present to claim a spot). The tension can be thick.

Coach Eric Kenney and his athlete Liz West

In the female 30 to 34 age group, local athlete, Team Vixxen Racing member, Elizabeth West, was third in her age group with two spots up for grabs. She is coached by Eric Kenney of EK Endurance. I knew how anxious Eric was, hoping to see her dream come true. If you know Eric, you know he wears his heart on his sleeve.

As Mike Reilly began to announce that age group I was nervous. My personal connection and empathy for Liz and knowing how close she has been in past years and remembering how I felt missing a spot by one place two years ago, put a lump in my throat in anticipation. Mike called the first name. Silence. He called it again. More silence.

Tears swelled in my eyes and I gazed not at Liz, but at Eric a few feet away, standing alone to the side. He crumpled to a knee and couldn’t fight the tears. That moment will last a lifetime. Liz hugged many and tears came to her as well and her mom sat crying; it was simply beautiful.

Ironman Boulder is over, dreams are cast and inspiring stories will be told for a long long time.

IRONMAN World Championships

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

 

The inaugural Hawaiian IRON MAN Triathlon was conceptualized in 1977 as a way to challenge athletes who had seen success at endurance swim, running and biathlon events. Honolulu-based Navy couple Judy and John Collins proposed combining the three toughest endurance races in Hawai’i—the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon—into one event.

On February 18, 1978, 15 people came to Waikiki to take on the IRONMAN challenge. Prior to racing, each received three sheets of paper with a few rules and a course description. The last page read: “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”

In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Along the Kona Coast, black lava rock dominates the panorama, and athletes battle the “ho’omumuku” crosswinds of 45 mph, 95-degree temperatures and a scorching sun.

The IRONMAN World Championship centers on the dedication and courage exhibited by participants who demonstrate the IRONMAN mantra that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.® On October 14th, over 2,000 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN.

 

Event details here

Ironman: Calling All Women Who Tri

Women For Tri is looking for one inspirational woman to tell her story, raise support, and inspire other women to Tri as she represents us at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii!

The purpose of the Women for Tri IRONMAN® World Championship Slot 2017 is two-fold: (1) to support a female IRONMAN triathlete who embodies the spirit of Women for Tri at the 2017 IRONMAN® World Championship, and (2) to raise at least $25,000 in support of Women for Tri charitable programs. Do you want to make a tangible positive impact on the lives of female athletes like yourself?

Apply here by April 15, 2017 at 11:59pm.

11 Ways to get to Kona

For long-course triathletes, the IRONMAN World Championship is the pot of gold at the end of a rewarding season of training. Here’s your roadmap.

Every year, more than 2,200 hard-working athletes have the chance to compete at the iconic IRONMAN World Championship on the Island of Hawai’i. It was there that Dave Scott and Mark Allen battled head to head in 1989’s “Iron War.”

It was there that IRONMAN legend Paula Newby-Fraser earned her historic eight victories. It continues to be where thousands of athletes have overcome illness and injury, fighting through their own—or sometimes others’—mental, emotional, and physical hardships.

The historic finish line on Ali’i Drive has become synonymous with big dreams, and even bigger accomplishments. It is the place where the IRONMAN mantra, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”, pulses to the beat of the Hawaiian drum.

And we want to help you get there.

  1. Standard qualification: Every year, age-group athletes compete in full-distance races globally for one of only a handful of highly coveted slots to the IRONMAN World Championship. This route demands a lot of blood, sweat, and sometimes tears, as athletes compete against their fellow age-groupers for slots. Each of the 40 full-distance IRONMAN races in the 2017 qualifying series offers a different number of Kona qualification slots, which are then divided up according to the size of their respective age-group
  2. Qualify in China: Once again, this year our IRONMAN 70.3 races in China will be the only half-distance events where athletes can qualify for Kona. Pick a race, and get planning, you’re in for a treat:IRONMAN 70.3 Liuzhou: April 1, 2017—30 qualifying slots.
    IRONMAN 70.3 Qujing: August 27, 2017—30 qualifying slots.
  3. IRONMAN Legacy Program: The IRONMAN Legacy Program, now in its sixth year, rewards our most loyal athletes with a chance to compete in Kona. These athletes became eligible for selection based on a) completed a minimum of 12 full-distance IRONMAN races; b) never started the iconic IRONMAN World Championship; c) have completed at least one IRONMAN event in each of the 2015 and 2016 seasons; and d) be registered for an IRONMAN event in 2017. This year, we have added 100 additional Legacy slots to the annual 100, for a total of 200.
  4. IRONMAN Kona Drawing benefiting The IRONMAN Foundation: This year, The IRONMAN Foundation is offering a drawing for 10 slots, with a suggested (tax deductible) donation of $50.00 to benefit the Foundation’s charitable giveback in communities around the world. The drawing will begin on Friday, February 24, 2017, and finish on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 12 pm ET . Selected athletes will be announced on Friday, March 31. Click here to enter the drawing.Related Article: 39 Things You Didn’t Know About Kona
  5. Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition Division Drawing: To honor the vision of IRONMAN co-founders, John and Judy Collins, IRONMAN remains committed to providing athletes of all abilities a means of entry to the world’s most challenging and prestigious one-day endurance event. Through the Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition Division Drawing, five physically challenged athletes from around the world will be drawn to receive entry to the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship. Further guidelines and registration information can be found at ironman.com/pcdrawing.
  6. IRONMAN Foundation annual Kona auction: Beginning on April 1, 2017, one slot will be auctioned off each week for five weeks on eBay. The first four slots will benefit the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund and will be 100 percent tax deductible less the value of the race registration (minimum opening bid of $25,000). Visit the IRONMAN Foundation website for more information. For the second year, The IRONMAN Foundation will offer a fifth slot (also 100 percent tax deductible) with 100 percent of the funds going to support Women For Tri — a program of the IRONMAN Foundation that works to increase female participation at all levels of triathlon (minimum opening bid of $25,000).
  7. Women For Tri slots: The Women For Tri initiative will also allocate one additional slot to a female triathlete who both a) embodies the spirit of Women For Tri through a compelling personal story that motivates and inspires other women to “Tri”; and b) raises or contributes at least $25,000 to the Women For Tri charitable, tax-deductible effort. This slot will be distributed via an application process. Additional details are available at the IRONMAN Foundation website.
  8. IRONMAN Executive Challenge: With 25 slots set aside for the IRONMAN World Championship, IRONMAN XC creates a true competition among peers at XC qualifying events, with top performers awarded IRONMAN World Championship slots. The program brings together executives at select events around the globe for a unique and ultra-personalized IRONMAN race weekend experience. This turn-key program streamlines all logistics surrounding an IRONMAN event and provide a white glove level of service. Additionally, family and guests experience VIP treatment throughout event weekend with a front row seat to all the action.
  9. Bonus Kona slots: This year, bonus slots to the IRONMAN World Championship were allocated to a few select races in different regions. Ten lucky athletes won the chance to race at Kona via a drawing relating to IRONMAN Boulder, taking place on June 11. IRONMAN Australia, taking place on May 7, 2017, provided a similar promotion with 10 entries to Kona. In the coming weeks, information will be provided on on a special opportunity for athletes racing at IRONMAN Maastricht – Limburg on August 6, 2017.
  10. Japan to Whistler to Kona! This year, an additional 20 qualifying slots to the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawai’i, are up for grabs for Japanese nationals racing IRONMAN Canada. These slots will be allocated based on the athlete’s Age-Group Ranking upon conclusion of the race. Click here for more information.
  11. IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii, Honu to Kona: Thanks to the Island of Hawai’i Visitor’s Bureau, 10 Kona slots are on offer to anyone who registers for IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii by May 1, 2017. Click here for more information.

Ironman Quest for Kona New TV Series Casting Call

Begin your IRONMAN journey and star in your own 30-minute show.

The series, scheduled to air in the fall of 2017, will profile ten athletes from around the world as they embark on the path to qualifying for the most iconic single-day endurance event, the IRONMAN World Championship which takes place in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.

Each episode will feature one charismatic and engaging contender as they take on a specific IRONMAN qualifying event, capturing the breathtaking scenery, local culture and unique athletic challenges that each setting presents. While not every athlete may ultimately qualify, each will show that IRONMAN is about persevering, enduring and being a part of something larger than themselves, proving that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®.

Self-shot footage will be utilized to capture each person’s real-time journey as a supplement to the broadcast content. “IRONMAN: Quest for Kona” takes aspirational athletes and puts their mission front and center, inviting viewers to experience the personal highs and lows of each pursuit.
Casting for the new series is now open globally. Consideration for the first round of selections are due no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on February 6, 2017

Longmont Dentist Wins Entry to IRONMAN World Champs in Kona

From the Washington Post

– Associated Press
Saturday, December 31, 2016

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) – Tom Bogan’s childhood memory of nearly drowning in a Boulder pool scared him out of the water until about five years ago, when he committed to learning to swim.

“I remember distinctly breathing water in and out of my lungs,” he said of the experience.

The Boulder dentist and Longmont resident is now a two-time Ironman, who swims, runs, cycles and lifts weights up to 14 hours a week as training for his next races.

He was surprised to learn recently that he was the first of 10 Ironman Boulder 2017 entrants chosen at random to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – a qualification-only race for a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

Ironman Boulder race director Dave Christen said he scheduled a root canal under a fake name to sneak his way into Bogan’s north Boulder office for the surprise, broadcasting it live on Facebook.

Read the full story.

 

Watch Dave meet up with Dr. Bogan on FB live

Weekend Preview: Dreaming of Warm Weather?

Triathlon Events

Saturday Dec. 10th

 

NBC Presents 2016 IRONMAN World Championships

Watch all the coverage you missed while out on the course from the comfort of your favorite chair.



Cycling Events

Saturday Dec. 10th

 

Colorado State CX Championships

Westminster Park


 

Learn the Velodrome

USOTC, Colorado Springs


 

24hr Trainer Challenge

Pedal Station, Colorado Springs


Sunday Dec. 11th

 

Colorado State CX Championships

Westminster Park


 

24hr Trainer Challenge

Pedal Station, Colorado Springs

Kona Recap by 303’s 719 Rep Nicole

(Originally published on http://neoendurancesports.com)

I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to travel with 303Triathlon to the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i. While it was a “working trip,” that work was about reporting on the event experience. In order to do that, I had to participate in as much as I could!

There was a lot packed into my week there, so I’ll share the highlights, observations, and some general thoughts on the experience.

  • I treasured the opportunity to swim in Kailua Bay. This is the starting point of an event that tests even the best of athletes. In addition to it being a beautiful swim, to know that the legends of the past, present, and future swim here is inspiring.
Athletes doing a practice swim at the starting point of IRONMAN World Championships in Kona,.
Where it all starts. Dig Me Beach in Kailua-Kona.

 

  • The athletes that get here put in a tremendous amount of work to do so. The commitment to do what it takes to be in the IRONMAN World Championships can be applied to any aspect of your life.
Athletes in transition making final preps before the race start of the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship
Athletes in transition making final preps before the race start
  • It is truly an international event, and great to see where everyone is from in the Parade of Nations. 64 countries were represented this year, including a female from Iran. Walking around the streets of Kona you hear many different languages.
German athletes in the Parade of Nations at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships.
The Germans may have been the most enthusiastic bunch!
Two athletes from Iran, in the Parade of Nations at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships, including the first ever female.
Two Iranian athletes in the Parade of Nations
  • There is a lot of tradition in this event. It’s an opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture in addition to racing. And eat some new foods. The way tradition and ritual is built into the event makes it more than just another championship race.

    • There are educational opportunities in addition to social activities. (It’s possible to do too much, but if you choose events and rest times carefully, you can make it work!)

Dana, Coach Nicole, and Michelle of 303triathlon.com at the thank God I'm Not Racing Party hosted by Bob Babbitt

Dana, Coach Nicole, and Michelle at the Thank God I’m Not Racing Party with our medals!

    • There are different levels of athletes racing here. I’m sure there were a few exceptions, but it seemed everyone was thankful and appreciative that they had the opportunity to race on the big island.
Patrick Lange celebrates with the crowd at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships after coming in 3rd.
Patrick Lange celebrates with the crowd after coming in 3rd place
    • Volunteers are critical for this event. Thousands of them! They didn’t seem to mind getting up at 3am or standing out in the heat for long periods of time. Without volunteers there couldn’t be an event.
One of the many volunteers needed for the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships.
One of the many transition volunteers
  • The energy of the finish line is incredible. People stay and cheer for hours, all the way until the final finisher crosses the line.

 

  • My final thoughts: Work hard for what you want, play hard, and be sure to enjoy the opportunities that come your way.
Coach Nicole and the 303triathlon.com team taking a lunch break at the 2016 IRONMAN World Championships
Coach Nicole and the 303Triathlon.com team