It all began in 1978 when 15 Marines argued who was the strongest and fittest: swimmers, runners or cyclists. Over some drinks they came up with the idea to put them all together in one stupendous race. On a beach in Hawaii the marines combined several races already in existence and decided on a 3.8k swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42km run. Each year the challenge was taken up and became known as the Ironman.
Each year Mike’s words roar out from his megaphone letting the athletes know how wonderful they are, telling them, “The days and months of training through wind, rain, sun and snow have all been worth the pain to be here on the start line. By the end of the day you will be AN IRONMAN.”
I will be forever grateful to the sport that brought my cancer to my attention. Triathlon and the daily dedication of training and focus gave me the discipline to follow the new path I was given – the one from cancer to health. Had it not been for the Half Ironman events on December 9, 2006, I don’t believe I would be here to tell you this story.
My inspiration came from watching Ironman in Taupo in 2005. Hearing the “Voice of Ironman,” Mike Reilly, saying to every finisher, “You. Are. An. Irrrrroooonnn Man!” will forever stay with me. As sleep slowly claimed me after my most happy day, I drifted off dreaming that perhaps one day I might hear Mike say to me, “You are an Ironman!” Mr. Ironman and I …. we have unfinished business.