303’s collegiate ambassador, Mercedes DiCarli, is originally from Kona but attends school at CSU. Today she was featured on the Big Island NOW news site as she prepares to race Saturday in the Ironman World Championships:
Earning a slot in full-distance qualifiers is one way to secure a spot at the starting line. Other ways include the Ironman Legacy program, an eBay auction, Military Division and the Hawaii Residency Drawing.
The Hawaii Residency Drawing awards a total of 44 spaces to residents across the State of Hawaii, with 24 slots going to Big Island residents.
Residency entries must complete a race equivalent to half of an Ironman. A 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.
Among this year’s recipients (is) Mercedes DeCarli, a young local athlete following in her father’s footsteps…
Growing up in an athletic family, DeCarli knew from an early age that she would one day compete in an Ironman in her hometown. After watching her very first Ironman race at age 6, she told her father on the spot that she could do it, too.
Just 21, she has been training for a triathlon since age 15. Over time, she gradually increased her mileage in all three sports.
DeCarli began training specifically for this event in June, concentrating on bicycling and running and “a little bit of swimming.”
She has a solid support team consisting of her parents, Michael and Christine, her younger sister, younger brother and boyfriend Dan Gampon. Both her father and boyfriend have competed in Ironman events as well.
DeCarli is working toward her degree in journalism and aspires to go pro and publish and own her own magazine in Hawai‘i one day.
From her love for running, reading, family, faith and growing up in an athletic family to her passion and drive, there is much to what makes DeCarli who she is.
303 will be cheering for you, Mercedes!