Monday, August 29, 2005

Ironman Canada

I walked down to the Ironman competition yesterday and took some pics of the final leg - the run. 2200 men and women participated this year.

The competition consists of a 3.86km swim in Okanagan Lake, a 180.2km bike ride through the south Okanagan Valley, and, finally, 42.2km run to Okanagan Falls and back.

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This guy was having a tough time. When I snapped the pic, he looked up and said, "yeah, thanks", clearly unimpressed with my voyeuristic impulse.

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This guy had completed the event and was down at the finish watching others running in. I was impressed with the number of participants who finished early then stayed to spur the others on.

D. will be posting video of the event at Byte Me, if you want to have a look. It should be up sometime this week. We missed the swim at 7am, unfortunately - my fault for drinking wine and having a meltdown about my own inadequacies.

Watching the event was both inspiring and depressing. I thought about my own flawed body, struggling to walk down the street, and fantasized that I was in the running, crossing the finish line, receiving my medal amid the boistrous accolades of the spectators.

At midnight, the cutoff for official time, a woman in her fifties crossed the finish line with one second to spare. Just before her, a seventy-four year old woman set a world time record for her age group. There were others that didn't make the official time. The clocks that started at seven that morning were stopped at midnight.

I thought about the others - the ones who would run on after the party dispersed and the cameras were turned off. A hundred and fifty participants were still running in - a hundred and fifty who missed the clock after seventeen hours of grueling labour.

There were fireworks. I watched from D.'s balcony for a moment, cut off by a stand of trees, seeing the odd flash of light, and I went to bed resolving to be a better person.

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