Last month I cheered on my son-in-law during his third Ironman triathlon. I never even heard of an Ironman until he did his first one seven years ago. An Ironman triathlon is a multistage race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2-mile marathon, no break with a maximum of 17 hours to complete. From only 15 men in the first race in Hawaii in 1978, there are now thousands of men and women that compete around the world.
Alex competed in Madison, WI, with 2,900 other athletes, and 45,000 spectators lining the course through Wisconsin farmland and downtown Madison. Wearing bright pink t-shirts, his sixteen supporters cheered him on. The great thing about an Ironman, however, is that spectators cheer for everyone. Although the professionals race against each other, the amateurs are testing their own determination and stamina.
Alex wrote before the race: “I get asked a lot why I like to put my body through the physical pain that all of us out there do. I have found Ironman as a positive outlet for me to channel some of my passion. Thank you for coming out to support me and everyone else that will be pushing their bodies to their limits. I especially look forward to seeing and hearing you screaming at me out there. Believe it or not it does make a big difference when we hear someone screaming our bib number or name in encouragement. Chase me up some hills, make me laugh, or keep me up on the Packers score.”
He achieved a personal best of 10:29:10, even with injuries. He came close to qualifying for Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. He’s aiming to qualify next year and we’ll be cheering him on.
Youtube clip of Ironman Motivational Tribute