What Does it Take to Be an Ironman?

Strength, determination, focus and mental fortitude might come to mind, all of which are true.

For many, it’s a one- time think to check off their bucket list.

For others, it starts that way but becomes so incredibly fulfilling on so many levels that it becomes a lifelong part of who they are even though at the beginning it may have seemed an impossible thing to accomplish.

I spent this past weekend in beautiful Whistler, BC, where Ironman Canada now takes place.  

This particular race wasn’t on my schedule this year, but it was for my husband, so my coach and I spent the day on the course cheering him on, serving both as spectators as sherpas to experience the race from a different standpoint.

As always, it’s an incredible day of hustling and bustling to be sure to track the athlete(s) you’re following, making sure to see them at each and every possible vantage point to cheer them on and shout out words of support and encouragement.

And while it’s amazing to watch the professionals race, some of whom seem to be cut from a different cloth as evidenced by their ability to execute such feats as running a 2:39:24 marathon, which Marino Vanhoenacker did in Ironman Austria in 2011[1], there’s another category of athletes that I find to be equally, if not more inspiring to track.

Lew Hollander, the oldest man to finish an IRONMAN race is starting in the 85-89 age category in Kona this October[2].

“I have a lot of persistence. Persistence is the key to my life. You fall down, you get back up, and you go again. I don’t give up. That’s been the motto of my life in business and science. I’ve never been really good at anything, I just stay with it”, he stated in an interview with Ironman Live.

He’s not the only person to have accomplished such a thing at an age that our society tends to believe is more suitable for enjoying leisure activities that aren’t too strenuous. What nonsense!

Hiromu Inada of Japan, completed his first Ironman at age 77[3].

It’s not only the gentlemen that are breaking their limits; women who are a certain number of years young are doing the same.

Sister Madonna Buder (born July 24, 1930), is current world record holder for the oldest woman to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon.[4]

So yesterday as I watched the race with my main priority being to support my husband in any way I could (who, by the way, earned his 4th Kona slot which will tally up a grand total of 11 for the two of us combined), I also had another opportunity to see what the day is like for everyone else out there and all the hurdles the day presents them with.

Everyone was pelted with torrential rain; everyone had to endure incredibly tough bike conditions and everyone had the choice to carry on.

And that’s the key takeaway here today.

You’ve got a choice.

What are you choosing to eat?

What are you doing today for activity?   If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, pick something else.

But whatever you do, don’t ever make the mistake of selling yourself short or giving up prematurely.   There’s simply no reason to settle!












[1] “Vanhoenacker: World-Best Time in Austria and Slideshow.” IRONMAN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2015

[2] “Aging Wonder: Lew Hollander’s Record Finish.” IRONMAN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2015

[3] “It’s Never Too Late to Become an Ironman.” IRONMAN.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2015

[4] “Sister Madonna Buder Sets Ironman Triathlon World Record”. Impowerage Magazine. August 28, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.