Competing at the IRONMAN World Championship is months, even years in the making. It starts with doing the distance. Then comes qualifying. And then, the day comes…
You are floating in Kailua Bay just moments before the starting cannon sounds the beginning of a day that absolutely no one really knows what it’s going to take to make it through. The goal is the IRONMAN finish line. Make it there and one grand journey will be complete. How that’s going to happen is still an unknown. Only minute-by-minute as the day unfolds will it all come into focus.
The gap between where you are at in the race and the IRONMAN finish line has a way of expanding and contracting, and then expanding again.
Rough patches can be followed by, well, more of the same. You deal with one and feel back on track, and then another one hits. Finishing can go from feeling barely worth it to sounding totally and completely impossible. You ask yourself why? Why am I out here? Why do I keep pushing? But even as you debate the whole worth of the day within yourself you are amazingly still making forward progress.
Eventually you are so locked in that pain and discomfort mean nothing. They take a silent back seat to your steal-clad commitment to keep making forward momentum. A good result or a bad result? Neither have any real sway over you. That type of measure just doesn’t compute in your brain any longer.
You are on a singularly focused mission: Get To The Finish Line!
At one point an epiphany happens. You know you are going to make it regardless of the state you are in. It might be with you hands held high because you set a PR, won an age group, or simply overcame everything the day served up. But regardless, the moment you cross the IRONMAN finish line, it’s like an unseen Seal Of Approval issued from the Department Of Life is stamped onto your DNA.
This video is a reminder of the journey. It’s a reminder of why the IRONMAN in Hawaii is so special. And mostly it’s a window into the joy and elation the inspiring IRONMAN finish line brings out.
It doesn’t matter if you are a finisher or someone there cheering the athletes across it, the IRONMAN finish line is something I am sure you will agree is a Top-40 Greatest Moment at IRONMAN. And this “moment” isn’t just one speck of time. It spans the entire 40-years of IRONMAN finish lines in Hawaii and includes every IRONMAN finish line around the world.
Start your IRONMAN experience HERE.
I am the Founder and CEO at Mark Allen Coaching. I am proud to have been voted in an ESPN global poll "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time." During my multi-sport career I won the Ironman Triathlon World Championship six time, the inaugural Triathlon World Championship at the Olympic Distance in Avignon, France, and at one point in my career I won 21 straight races across every derivation and distance. It was a great career, but that's all it would ever be unless I was able to share all of the experience and methodology we invented long before smart watches, power meters, and flashy uniforms. That's why I started Mark Allen Coaching, as a way to return to others at least the part of the gifts I received.