cross-post from other blog

This has been one of my favorite threads on Slowtwitch. The question was whether people finishing an Ironman at 11:59 (or anytime that bumps up against the 17-hour cutoff) deserves the same admiration at someone that finishes in 8 hours, or 10 hours, or 12 hours, or whatever.

Some highlights:
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.


Mister Vertigo said...

Great post! I have to agree with all the comments you posted. Being somone who has never even considered doing something like that, I have lots of respect for anyone who can finish. IM is one hell of a race. Anyone who has endured the months and years of training to prepare for one of those will always be a stud in my book.

Sophist said...

Personally, I think anyone who even dares to do a race like that is absolutely spectacular.

But remember how Spice feels when she says she's working out and people say, "Good for you!"? Or how M.Bro felt when the guy running sprints on the treadmill next to her, pointed at her distance/time meter and gave her a grin and a big thumbs up?

I wonder if the 17-hour finishers feel patronized when everyone is cheering them on.

Mister Vertigo said...

Hmmm Sophist, that is an interesting point of view. I never thought of it that way. I know when someone tells me that they are going to start working out, I feel kinda awkward because I don't know what to say. I don't want to say something like "way to go!" or "that's a good decision" because I don't want them to think that I think they are overweight or something like that.