I read this hugely inspirational story this morning, about a 63 year old grandmother who has just completed 27 marathons in 27 consecutive days… while pulling a 3 wheeled cart!
Rosie Swale Pope was awarded an MBA in 2003 after pulling the cart around the world on a 20,000 mile run taking almost 5 years, in memory of her husband who died of cancer. I love reading stories like these, they are great things to think about on rainy days when you have a long training session to do which you’re really not in the mood for, then you remember something like this, pull your socks up and just get on with it thinking “If they can do that, I can certainly do this!”
A 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile cycle and then a full marathon, back to back, with no breaks, has to be completed within a maximum of 17 hours… sounds like a challenge!
I don’t remember exactly when I first heard about the Ironman but it’s been on my list for quite a few years. It’s often called the “ultimate endurance race” and for good reason – it’s a bloody long way!
The first Ironman was a combination of the Waikiki roughwater swim, the around Oaha bike race, and the Honolulu marathon. It was to settle an argument at the time about whether cyclists, runners or swimmers were fittest. Twelve men started that first Ironman race in 1978, 12 finished with Gordon Haller coming in first in 11 hours and 46 minutes. The following year there were 50 entrants, and the event has grown ever since. Here’s a peek at what’s involved in the modern event:
I’m not sure exactly what it is about the Ironman, but for some reason I’m drawn to it, I want to test myself and see if I can do it. That video gives me chills every time I watch it, but I feel compelled to try. As their slogan goes, I want to see if I can “Swim 2.4 miles, Cycle 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles, Brag for the rest of my life!”
There are of course obstacles to completing, or even entering a race like this, some more obvious than others. The biggest is obviously a need to train – it would be almost impossible to complete an Ironman without considerable training, and stupid to try. So that would be a major hurdle, finding the time (many, many hours per week) to train which would increase in duration as the event approached. Then there is a financial cost. Entry to the race itself in the UK is £300 (about $450 USD) but there are also equipment costs (bike, wetsuit etc.) and travel and accommodation for the race itself. Then there’s the big one – I can’t swim!
OK so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, I can kinda swim a bit! But my normal swimming involved a bit of snorkling, or a quick dip in the pool on holiday, shortly followed by grabbing a beer from the bar and sitting around the pool with a Terry Pratchet novel! So the very thought of attempting a 2.4 mile swim, in deep freezing cold water, quite frankly terrifies me!
Hmmmm… so there are certainly obstacles to this, but if it was easy then it wouldn’t be a challenge so I’m committing to the challenge right now:
I, Billy “Action Geek” Deakin, being of sound(ish) mind and slightly less sound body, do solomnly declare that I have decided to commit to training for, and entering the 2011 Ironman UK.
There, I said it, no turning back now…
Looks like I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, from planning to training, but in just over a year I’ll be able to cross “Complete an Ironman” off my list Even better, there are a number of other items on my list which I’ll be able to cross off along the way such as learning to swim properly, and maybe running a sub 3:30 marathon! So, let the training begin…