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What Makes an Ironman Part II

The world looks a bit different now.

I Feel Better About This

In my last post, I talked about IRONMAN North Carolina and the altered bike course.   All us athletes were expecting to compete on a 112 mile bike course.  Because of Hurricane Matthew, the bike course had to be reduced to 49 miles.  Actually, the race company was able to find another six miles to add to the course.  Based on my estimates, I think the total may be close to the 56 miles they claim.

Social networks lit up with many comments starting or ending with the phrase, ” … it’s not an Ironman… ”

In that post, I was not very happy, but kept an open mind as to the value of the race experience.  I feel much better today after picking up my packet and racking my bike.

The start of another great race

The start of another great race

Consider All The Parts

The lesson here is that a 112 mile bike during the race is only a part of the whole experience.  There are so many other parts to consider:

  1. The swim

  2. The run

  3. The volunteers

  4. The spectators

  5. The other athletes

  6. The finish line energy

  7. The starting line nerves

  8. The warm chicken broth on a cold run

  9. The high five from the kid along the finish chute

  10. The months of preparation

  11. The hard workouts that hurt

  12. The group rides that I’ll never forget

  13. The group breakfasts after long runs

  14. The group happy hours after evening swims

If any of this matters to you, then you will probably come to the same conclusion that I did.

The Question

So is it an Ironman?  That depends on you.

Literally and technically, it is an Ironman, because it is an event produced by WTC who can put the Ironman brand on whatever they want.

But the distinction of “IRONMAN” goes only to those who complete an Ironman race.  If you prepared for it and you completed it, you are an Ironman.  Therefore, tomorrow’s race with the altered bike course will make me an Ironman.  To me, the race is the ceremony that concludes months of hard work.

To others, the altered bike course may be a complete deal breaker.  Maybe they race only for the distinction of being called an Ironman under the condition that the full 140.6 miles are recorded in a database for the world to see.  For them, I truly hope they find a resolution, even if it may not be at Ironman North Carolina this year.

To the purists, whomever they are, no one is an Ironman unless they complete Ironman Hawaii (World Championship).


You have to make your own conclusion.

If I cross that finish line tomorrow and feel like an Ironman, then there’s nothing you can do to convince me that I’m not.  And I’m pretty sure I’ll feel the Ironman love.  But that’s no different than any other race for me.

By The Way

At yesterday’s athlete briefing, we were told that we would receive a coupon for $150 off of one out of a selection of the 2017 Ironman races.  I probably won’t need it to be a happy customer, but I might use it.  We’ll see.

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