(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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!)
- Read about my run with a Stryd power meter.
- Our 303 team got invited to 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.
- 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.
- 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.