Dear Dave

Dear Dave,

When we first met, little did I know that I was talking to a legend. It was December of 2017 and we were at the IRONMAN World Championship NBC Broadcast Preview Party in New York City. I remember your big smile and infectious energy as you made your way around the room talking to various guests. When you told me who you were and your connection to IRONMAN, I was completely floored. Here I am, talking to the guy who finished 3rd at the 1st ever IRONMAN in 1978.

December 2017 – New York City

From that moment on, our paths crossed at various events and activities due to our invovlement with the IRONMAN Foundation. We dug up weeds to help restore sacred grounds on the Big Island, volunteered our time with Paradox Sports in Boulder with their adaptive climbing program, and so many other fun times. I’ll admit, up to that point I only knew you from your accomplishment as being the 3rd badass that ever finished an IRONMAN.

It was time to head back to Kona in October of 2018, and you reached out to me to see if I was also headed back to the Big Island. Somehow we connected the dots and realized we were both on the same flights from Denver to Honolulu, and then Kona. The travel angels were doing their magic, I got upgraded to a First Class seat, and there you were sitting in First Class as well. With a little bit of shuffling, our flight attendant made sure we got to seat next to each other.

Thank you United! It was a great ride!!!

It was during that flight that I had the privilege to really get to know you. That 9 hour flight flew right by in a blink of an eye. We talked about life, love, triathlon, and everything under the sun. You told me about your service in the Marines, leading to your post on the Island of Oahu where this crazy idea of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles was cooked up.

Dave heading out on the bike leg of the 1st ever IRONMAN – Oahu, Hawaii

I’ll never forget learning about the nuances of your experience racing self-supported. The bike you rode was borrowed, you threw a $20 bill into the pocket of your jean shorts to buy food and drink along the way, one of your “aid stations” was a grocery store that you ran into quickly for fear that your bike would get stolen because you left it outside, and on the run your friends showed up with handups of beer.

You never hid how you felt about how the sport of triathlon has morphed from this grassroots bandit-like fun culture where finishing was a feat in itself to the now technology ridden profit-driven sport of the privileged few. Despite all these changes, your spirit and love of the sport never unwavered. You were extremely humble about all your accomplishments and had the upmost respect for the sport, how it made you a better person, and gave back to you personally in so many ways. Seeing the excitement in your eyes when the cannon went off on the Kailua Bay pier for the swim start even after 40 years since it all began gave me faith that maybe someday I would love racing long distance again.

I also remember you telling me about your battle with cancer and all the infusion treatments you had received. In fact, you missed going to Kona in 2017 because you were too ill and got stuck in Los Angeles to complete a round of infusions. No one would ever suspect that you were “sick” from interacting with you. Your spirit and energy definitely didn’t reflect that, which is something I really admired about you. You always rose to the occasion but took the time to yourself to recharge when needed. One thing that you did mention that I’ll never forget that even though the cancer suppressed your immune system, you were always willing to take that chance to be around people because you loved the energy of race week and race day on the Big Island. Nothing would make you miss being part of the fun!

You fought an amazing fight my friend. That battle is now over and you’ve cross the finish line of life. The way you lived is how we should all aspire to live. To the fullest. Dave Orlowski-style. Now you’ll live on forever in each and every one of us who’ve been blessed and lucky enough to have been part of your journey.

E hoʻomaha me ka maluhia my friend.

Kou kaikuahine me ke aloha,
Khem

AN EVENING OF CHAMPIONS AND INSPIRATION: ANNUAL IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BROADCAST PREMIERE

Event to take place on December 5th at New World Stages in New York City with proceeds supporting The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 28, 2017) — On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation will host an “Evening of Champions and Inspiration” at the IRONMAN® World Championship Broadcast Premiere presented by UnitedHealthcare, taking place at New World Stages in New York City. Sharing the hosting duties for the evening’s affair will be “The Voice of IRONMAN” and this year’s IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team Captain, Mike Reilly along with veteran national sports broadcaster and multiple IRONMAN® 70.3® finisher Shannon Spake, as they introduce guests to the magic of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, which took place on October 14 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

The red-carpet gala will feature a premiere screening of the annual NBC broadcast that captures the fierce competition and compelling storylines of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship and a moderated Q&A panel from athletes featured in the show. Event attendees will get a first look at the broadcast special before it airs on NBC, December 9th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET (check local listings for time and channel).

The event will also include food and cocktails and a meet-and-greet with inspirational age-group athletes as well as current and former professional athletes. 2017 IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange will be joined by top American finishers Heather Jackson, Andy Potts, Liz Lyles and Ben Hoffman and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador athlete Tim O’Donnell. Special guests will include original 1978 IRONMAN finisher Dave Orlowski as well as renowned sports commentator and long-time narrator of the NBC Show, Al Trautwig.

“We are excited to return to New York City to screen the IRONMAN World Championship NBC special ahead of its premiere on December 9th. Every year this broadcast special gives viewers an extraordinary view into a truly amazing event and this year’s IRONMAN World Championship is no exception,” said Christopher Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer for IRONMAN. “We are honored to work with The IRONMAN Foundation as we continue to grow this red-carpet event and silent auction to a larger audience than we have ever had before.”

The IRONMAN Foundation, the charitable arm of the IRONMAN organization, has provided more than $50 million in support since inception. Proceeds from the evening will benefit The IRONMAN Foundation’s Community Fund, which provides grant funding to nonprofit organizations in race communities where IRONMAN events are held.

In addition to the funds raised from the event’s ticket sales, The IRONMAN Foundation will hold a silent auction with a variety of unique items including this year’s IRONMAN World Championship finish line tapes, Hawaiian Ukuleles autographed by Professional IRONMAN athletes, and tickets to a Broadway Musical, just to name a few. Online bidding will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 29 and is open to event attendees and the general public by visiting the following link – IRONMAN Foundation Silent Auction.

There will also be an opportunity to bid during the live auction at the premiere on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i as well as the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

“The IRONMAN Foundation is honored to benefit from this event, which exemplifies excellence and inspiration in the sport of triathlon. Funds raised will allow us to continue to leave a tangible impact in the communities where IRONMAN events are held across the world,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.ironmanfoundation.org/konapremiere/. For more information on IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation, please visit www.ironman.com and www.ironmanfoundation.org. For media related inquiries, please contact press@ironman.com.