Monday, August 9, 2010

The BIG One

Ironman keeps telling me about conversations he has been having recently with people he has come across through work or just out and about, and I have had a few similar ones.

Basically, the conversation begins on a comment on sport, exercise or something related and ends up with "Wow. Your going to Hawaii. The BIG One!"

Now although the excitement is rising in our household as we get closer to the date, and there is a lot of swimming, biking and running going on, it's not as though we are out there announcing it to the world!

What is interesting, is that people are so fascinated with someone wanting to swim, bike and run the long distances of an Ironman race and in particular, they have all heard of the ultimate race in Hawaii.

Even if people are not athletic or into triathlon, once they realise you have raced the long distances and that you are going to (or am sure if you have already been to) Hawaii - they want to know more.

The fact that often Hawaii is referred to as THE BIG ONE just goes to show what prestige the race has created for itself over the years. And, it's not just the reputation out amongst the general public, but also amongst triathletes themselves.

You only have to watch a couple of the past Ironman race DVDs to get a feel for how big it is in a triathletes life to race in Hawaii. There are many stories and many dreams - and you cannot fail to have tears in your eyes once you hear them and see the experiences every competitor has, whether a professional, an age grouper, physically challenged or a lottery competitor.

What I am feeling now as the weeks go by and we have these conversations, is that the Hawaii Ironman is a race that is so big, not just because of the distances raced and the difficulty of the course, but because of what it represents to us all and the effects it has on everyone who is involved. 

It is a challenge many people would not want to attempt, let alone have the ability to undertake. It requires mental as well as physical strength to both train and compete. It requires focus, commitment and drive that many of us do not have. 

Yet, when we see people race it, some who seem just like us, it also helps people to dream and set there own goals and think maybe I could have an experience like this if I put my mind to it. For some, this may end up being a shorter race or just getting out there and challenging themselves to try something new. 

It is an event that engulfs everyone involved and announces to us all that this is what life is all about. Challenges, goals, dreams and uniting together to celebrate life.

I am sure that being involved in the Hawaii Ironman as an organiser, supporter, volunteer and spectator - not only as a competitor - holds special lifetime memories for all - I can't wait!

No comments: