Mike Reilly IRONMAN World Championship 2017: “I did something on race day I had never done in all my 169 IRONMANS.”

Per usual the #VoiceofIRONMAN Mike Reilly wrote a recap of IRONMAN World Championships 2017…

New this year – He handed off the microphone for a super special tribute.

I did something on race day I had never done in all my 169 IRONMANS. Something that probably could have been done with many other well deserving souls but I just didn’t think about doing it. A young man by the name of Nicholas Purschke was with us all week. He choose through the Make-A-Wish foundation to come to Kona to see the World Championship. This is a 12 yr old from the USA that could have choose to meet his favorite professional baseball, football, or basketball player as most kids his age would. But his wish was to come to IRONMAN! A wish he was granted as he is battling a deadly genetic disease called ALD that affects 1 in 18,000, most severely in boys. He was a charm all week, always with a smile meeting his heroes. Witnessing his positive attitude and joyful outlook was inspiring beyond words. Now what did I do. It was about 11:30 pm and Nicolas was with his family at the finish watching and cheering as we all were. The look in his face watching each finisher was priceless. The many times I looked his way I would get a little flutter in my heart. An adult thought of I hope Nicolas gets to tell his grandkids about IRONMAN and his day among his heroes. I walked over to him to give him a high five, he was above me in the VIP section. I found myself asking “Nicolas do you want to call the next finisher an IRONMAN?” He had a little look of shock on his face, he turned to his Mom as she was was shaking her head yes then back to me saying “Yes I would!”. I introduced the crowd to Nicholas and told them what we were going to do. They cheered their acceptance. I told him you have to be loud, you have to bring it from deep down, just let it loose, let everyone know the next finisher is an IRONMAN! I told him I would say the person’s name and then you let them have it. Here she came our next finisher, I called out her name and quickly handed the microphone to Nicolas and with a loud. clear, and passionate voice beyond his 12 years he roared ‘YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”. Our finisher raised her arms and the crowd roared their immense approval. He absolutely nailed it and the look of joy on his face will be a look I take to my grave! NICHOLAS IN MY MIND AND I AM SURE EVERYONE’S “YOU ARE OUR IRONMAN!”

The IRONMAN Foundation to provide $125,000 in charitable giveback to the Kailua-Kona community in 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (October 6, 2017) – The IRONMAN Foundation® will distribute more than $125,000 in charitable giveback to non-profit initiatives and groups in the Kailua-Kona community in conjunction with the 2017 IRONMAN® World Championship, including a special initiative with YES Hawai`i to support local youth in the foster care system and granting a wish in partnership with Make-A-Wish®. This year’s grant funding brings the total awarded to $1.5 million across 1,100 Kailua-Kona non-profit organizations.

The IRONMAN Foundation will partner with YES Hawai’i, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering local youth in the foster care system by creating a community and support system through organized educational, recreational and social activities. Together they have planned an excursion event that will join local youth in the foster care system with IRONMAN athletes for a manta ray night snorkel tour. In addition, YES Hawaii will receive a $2,500 grant to sponsor its ongoing programs with local youth in foster care.

Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. These wishes have the ability to help wish kids not only feel better, but sometimes, even get better. The IRONMAN Foundation will host Nicholas Purschke, a 12-year old Make-A-Wish kid with Cerebral ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy), a severe genetic brain disorder. It is Nicholas’s wish to attend the IRONMAN World Championship and meet his triathlon heroes because it is “amazing what these athletes do and they have inspired me during my journey. I’m a runner and athlete and I’m also very competitive and would really like to do an IRONMAN in the future.” In addition to meeting IRONMAN Foundation Pro Triathlete Ambassadors Mirinda Carfrae and Timothy O’Donnell, Nicholas will participate in several race-week events, including the IRONKIDS Keiki Dip-N-Dash and leading the United States delegation of athletes at the Parade of Nations.

The IRONMAN Foundation will also present a special grant for $1,406 to PATH Hawai’i at the 31st Annual PATH 5k and 10k run taking place on Sunday, October 8. PATH works with Hawai`i state and county, local leaders and community members to safely connect people and places on Hawaiian Islands with bikeways, sidewalks and pathways.

“We are truly honored to partner with these organizations to provide funding or support for their initiatives,” said Dave Deschenes, Executive Director for The IRONMAN Foundation. “Together we’re leaving a lasting impact and our IRONMAN legacy here on the Island of Hawai`i.”

Continuing the “We’ve Got Your Back(pack)” program launched in April of this year, volunteers at the IRONMAN Foundation booth inside the IRONMAN Village will prepare backpacks for local children in need. Backpacks provided by Travelway Group International will include school supplies and sunscreen provided by Wal-mart, water bottles from Gatorade, healthy snacks from Clif Bar and inspirational notes written by IRONMAN athletes. The backpacks will be presented to Kids Matter and YES Hawai`i to support their participating youth.

Thirty athletes from around the world will race in support of IRONMAN Foundation programs, including the IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund and Women For Tri®. Together they have raised a record-breaking $850,000.

The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund provides community and volunteerism grant opportunities to non-profit organizations where IRONMAN events are held. In 2017, The IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than $1.5 million in grant funding to support the needs of IRONMAN race communities across North America. Since 2015, Women For Tri has distributed more than $187,000 in grant funding to support female participation initiatives.