What kind of person pays 500 bucks to tackle the torture of the 140.6 mile Ironman triathlon? If you've ever watched NBC's yearly Emmy award winning coverage of the Hawaii Ironman, you've seen countless profiles of amputees, cancer survivors, and the chiseled studs with 3 percent body fat.
But the stories behind the people trying to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, and run a marathon are fascinating. Almost every one. I'm working on profiles for the upcoming Ironman Louisville in 2 weeks. The corporate folks at Ironman headquarters in Florida sent me info on all 248 entrants from Kentucky. With 3,000 people coming here from all over the world to participate, I'm surprised that almost ten percent are from Kentucky - routinely ranked last in almost every key health category.
The woman who's been the post-race massage director has decided to sign up and give this a try. She'll have a new perspective on the needs of her clients after she finishes. A local lawyer who has gotten as far as a few miles from the finish - twice - signed up again. A woman who, at the 10 hour mark, missed the run cutoff by a couple of minutes, and was forced out of the race by rule, has signed up again. A man whose 2 year old daughter has had multiple surgeries, cannot yet walk, but "smiles every day" is using her as motivation to try this thing. A guy who quit smoking and lost 115 pounds is signed up. A woman who just broke her collarbone is still going to give it a try. Leaning over on the bike is the most painful part so she's been training on an adult tricycle. The oldest Kentucky participant, a 68 year old Sunday school teacher, is doing it just to say he did it. The youngest, a 20 year old, is trying it alongside her father. The ultimate bonding experience.
In fact, it'll be the ultimate bonding experience for all of us, no matter what our story is.