A week ago, today, I was helping on the run aid station at mile marker 2 on Ali’i Drive.
Yes, the Noble Road saw some wonderful athletes breaking records and some wonderful athletes almost broken. They left nothing out there, and today there is only the chalk left on the road…...messages of encouragement, support and love. What a day, what a race, what a place.
The Big Island delivered again and if anyone ever thought that the organisers would move the venue, then they are sadly mistaken. 40 Years of Dreams was captured brilliantly at the Welcome Dinner. The story of our sport was laid out bare and real by Mark Allen – from the originals, the Big Four, to the names of so many legends that make us do this sometimes-crazy sport.
It was an honour and a real thrill be there with Scott Molina and Erin Baker who had been inducted into the Hall of Fame the previous evening. To have Erin’s coach and influential coach and doctor, John [and Ien] Hellemans present was a bonus. Plus having Cam and Jenny Brown at our table made it a very memorable occasion.
As we travelled through history to the present, it was obvious that the human body and mind can withstand the rigours of triathlon as never thought possible. Friends from all around the world were racing and supporting and that made for a really neat day. It was a buzz to see them on their journey to the finish line.
And race day saw Daniela Ryf of Switzerland and Germany's Patrick Lange turn in record-setting performances en route to defending their world titles. They did so with such aplomb that one must wonder what will happen next year. I guess the Big Island will determine that, as this year the weather was the best yet.
So, the highs and lows of the Ironman World Championships are behind us now, the crowds have gone, and Kona has returned to normality. What next? The Ultraman World Champs in 5 weeks is what, and that is double the distance! Less numbers and yet the commitment for this race is huge. 40 athletes, including Kiwi Toni Hodge; 515 kilometres; 3 days. The mantra is Aloha, Ohana and Kokua. This will make for a spectacular occasion.