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A celebration of a great life

29 October 2008 One Comment

It’s just two weeks since we were running down Alii Dve in Kona. Running with no shirt, drinking water at the bubblers residents have installed to quench the thirst of the passing parade of walkers and joggers. There’s no other place I’d rather be in October.

I’ve race the Hawaii Ironman eleven times. I’ve had some great races and stood on the stage at the presentations, and like everyone who races in Kona, I’ve had a few forgettable experiences out there, where I’ve grovelled home throwing up and just managing to not fall into it. But I do believe there’s something in the Gatorade which erases the bad memories. Because all I associate with Kona Hawaii is fantastic, memorable experiences.

Whether you go there as a competitor, fulfilling your life’s dream. Or as a spectator, savoiring the walk on the hallowed ground of Kona, the experience is still outstanding. Jogging down to Dig Me Beach in the mornings for a swim out to the “Coffee Boat”, putting your shoes and shorts into “The Gatorade Cloak Room” and swimming in the clean warm, ocean. Having unlimited access to the rehydration drink at the gatorade booth. I was given a free silicone swim cap and a shirt, just to try a German collustrom supplement. When I picked up my shoes, I was given a drink bottle and a gatorade for later.

Amoungst the crowd are champions from all over the world, past winners, hopeful young stars, everybody is in great shape. If anyone reading this was thinking of coming over as a spectator, I’d recommend training for a few weeks, so you look fit. You really don’t want to swim here with your jelly belly. The atmosphere is so peaceful and supportive, no-one really knows who you are or how good you are.

People spend an hour or two chatting to strangers, making new friends. It’s time to jog back to our hotel. This is as busy as Kona ever gets. Jogging back past the Ironman Expo, they’re getting set up for the days trading. This week in Kona there’s freebees everywhere. First timers are excited about all the free stuff to be given away. Once you’ve been here a few times, it is nice, but there’s only so many free t-shirts that you want, and you can only eat so many Power Bars.

Running past the Lava Java coffee shop, the line is out the door, people waiting to be served. There are people walking back and forth along Alii Dve all day and half the night. This would have to be one of the great walks of the world. Alii Dve during Ironman week. Last year, we watched the Ironman and travelled on to New York, Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Rome and on to Hong Kong. For me personally, Alii Dve is ahead of all of the other destinations as a place to walk around. But then I am a Ironman fanatic.

I see the Hawaii Ironman as a celebration of a great lifestyle. Every year I meet old friends, guys who I’ve raced against many times. Whether we’re racing or spectating, we’re here celebrating this fantastic life we have. This year I ran into Bill Bell. Eighty Six years on this planet and he’s still looking strong. He says he’s not able to complete the Ironman in time for the cutoff. Man, when I’m eighty – six, I hope I can still remember what the Ironman was.

When we compete, we get all tied up on times and positions in categories. Really, the great part of the whole thing is, we’re there, right there on the sacred ground of triathlon.  I’ll be back next year as a competitor again. I already have my accomodation booked. Same room, same hotel, same place on October 20th 2009.

One Comment »

  • BILL BELL said:

    Hi:

    Thought you should know that becoming a Triathlete allowed me to have my 96th.
    Birthday on November 19, 2018.

    Bill Bell
    The Really OLD Ironman & Ultraman

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