i know several people who finished IM's near the end of midnight...some had diabetes, some had one leg, some were 75 years old, some were dads who just wanted to prove to their kids that they could do anything in the world.
all i know is that anyone who steps up to the line has balls. anyone who finishes before 17 hours is an Ironman.
This post reminds me of the story a friend recounted to me.
He had just finished a marthon in 4.30 hours when he encountered the winner. He congratulated the winner and said how he wished he could run 2.15 (or whatever). The winner then turned around and said how much he admired the back-of-the pack-gang, saying that there was no way he could run for 4+ hours. Bottom line, its all relative.
How the 16.59 finisher chooses to live the rest of their life is their business. But for that fleeting moment, they were just as much of an Ironman as was the winner.
I resolved at mile 1 of the marathon never to do another IM. At mile 25.5 I resolved to do many more. I believe that one reason that the race is so successful is that anyone who can get to the starting line has a shot at becoming something extraordinary. Those that cannot see the merits of that I feel are missing the point. We should feel some kinship for those that have aspired to similar goals, not deride them for not meeting our expections.
Last year at Ironman-Lake Placid there was a man who finished at 12:04...missed the official 17-hour cutoff by 4 minutes but he finished. We all beat the walls, yelled his name and someone even gave him their medal and t-shirt.
I was at a party a while back and my girlfriend mentioned to some of her friends that I do triathlons--these guys start "bragging" and talking about how they do triathlons etc etc(sprints,Olympic)--I pretty much checked out of the conversation as I don't like to bring it up too much
I never said I did Ironmans- they found out later that I did IM and their attitude totally changed and they couldn't believe I didn't say anything as they were going on and on about the tri's they did
be humble but proud
Edited to add: The thread continues, and I also like this post:
One year at Ironman New Zealand a woman name Kain Bivens finished just behind the cut off. Ken Glah [ed. note: a triathlete that's famous in the way famous political scientists are famous] gave her his medal because he was proud of her achievement. This year she came back - finished the race in 16:14. At the awards banquet she called up Ken and gave him the medal back - because she had earned her own.