Wow. What a day it was for Ironman Melbourne.
The course logistics made it a little difficult for spectators. If you only had one athlete to support, the folks at WTC had put on a great system of busses and mini finishes lines every 10k to spur athletes on. Pretty cool. But with quiet a lot of athletes to try and cheer and follow that system was not going to work.
I helped some of my guys and girls get suited up pre race and watched both the pro and age group starts. Then got to see the athletes exit the swim for the first lap on the bike. That was all I got to see of the bike. I thought I had a great little app on my iphone called ‘iron tracker’ that I could follow many athletes. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to expectations with updates not happening.
What made my day special however was that Simon Thompson from TREK leant me a roady so I could ride back and forth on the run course. This was fantastic as I got down to about the 16km mark to see Crowie and Brownie fly by and then up to about 12th place. Knowing that my guys and girls were still on the bike, I headed back towards the finish to get caught up in the ‘peleton’ following the cracking pace of Craig and Cam. 3:55 per km for quite a bit before Craig went for it with about 7k to go.
After a while Craig asked “Kristian” “how far?” – Mate those last 2k’s where sub 3:40, I can’t see Cam … keep the pressure on and it’s yours.
Getting to experience that battle – up so close was amazing. 7:57 for Crowie and an agonising 8:00:12 for Brownie. That is what these guys dream about. A battle royale coupled with the internal fight to find that little bit more.
It was then back towards Frankston along the run course to find some of my guys and girls. I must say a few of my athletes that I happened upon copped a ‘pestering’ from me to not settle with the 5 or so kilmeters to finish. I made them demand everything of themselves and they didn’t disappoint. I could see the focus, the hurt, but I knew the elation they would feel from crossing the line knowing they had given it everything.
Some huge personals best’s were had. With some low 9’s and then mid to high 9’s and a number of them breaking the 11hr mark. One of my guys Greg, nearly teared up when I said around 6k to go that he would break 11hr. He said “really”, I said it wasn’t a question of breaking it, it was a matter of how much! 10:50 was a dream come true.. this is what it’s about folks.
A dream, desire, hard work and a belief. Really freaking cool.
Having other athletes come up and say thanks for the information within these blog posts and emails helped them achieve personal bests makes me feel proud.
And to all those athletes that didn’t have the greatest days out there. Never give up … try and find some positives from either the day or even the build up.
Look for them… because they’re there.
As Chrissie Wellington says in her book – “the sun rises and it sets, and then the next day (today) you are still the person you are. The person who your family and friends love. No matter the result.” Triathlon is part of our life but it should not define who we are as a person.
Take some R&R and then get back on the horse.