3,000 athletes registered to commit to becoming an IronMan. On August 26th, myself and 2,900 volunteers (33 states represented the volunteer force) signed up to commit to helping these athletes reach their ultimate goal of being an IronMan.
My volunteered job was Body Marking. I met hundreds from different countries and all over the world. To the young to the old ready to earn the phrase, ” You ARE an Ironman!” As a volunteer we are told to do 3 things. One is effort: give your best effort and your assigned job. Second is: Energy, enthusiasm, and EXTRA encouragement. Third: Have patience with the athletes and spectators. For many this was their first, to some it was their profession.
The goal at the end was the same..to finish and earn that medal that has taken anywhere from 6 months to over a year to train for. This was my 1st volunteer experience doing the Ironman and it’ll be a yearly commitment from me this day forward. I’ve never been so moved and inspired watching such an amazing event. To work closely with thousands of volunteers and athletes gave me a since of accomplishment and pride. I watched at the finish line for hours awaiting the 5 athletes ( Deb Condo, Richard Kalasky, Heather & Kirsten Schmeling, & Kali Thomas) I was personally cheering for. I saw hundreds come across with such pride, dignity, and accomplishment. Anyone watching couldn’t help but have tears of joy for these athletes and all they’ve overcome to be there. I watched some do cart wheels, back flips, limping, and wheel chaired while crossing the finish line. WOW what an honor to see hundreds of families supporting their athlete at the finish line with there “Team” shirts, signage, horns, and flowers. These athletes smiled, cried, shouted for joy and looked aimlessly for their family & friends at the end. This race is definitely no joke. To swim 2.4 mi, bike 112 mi, and run 26.2mi in 90 degree heat is phenomenal! Myself, as well as thousands that watched this event was inspired to do more challenging things as these athletes proved to us all that nothing is impossible. Everyone always has a person that they look up to in reaching their fitness goals. Mine is Kirsten Schmeling. If you remember from my first blog she has been my inspiration for many years. Actually, she’s the reason I am a whole person smaller and have the passion for running like I do. Kirsten has helped me challenge myself outside my comfort zone and push my limits. She is a very positive and upbeat person always ready to help someone reach their fitness goals. Thank you Kirsten for pushing me to my limits and always showing me that anything is possible. Pictured above is Kirsten & I after she completed her 1st Ironman in 3:01:12!
So if you have any local races going on around you, consider volunteering in them. I promise it will be a fun and inspiring day that you’ll never regret. Keep in mind these races cannot go on without volunteers such as yourself. I promise they will help inspire you to challenge yourself more and to never say never.
PS If you have that athlete in your life, please be sure to encourage and support them. It helps them out tremendously, especially when they hit walls, as your support encourages them to push harder to reach their fitness goals.