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cayman's picture
Joined: Aug 17 2006
Posts: 970
IMLP... the last 4 minutes

Race day is the culmination of training and without trying to sound cliche, blood sweat and tears. From the moment you sign up, the next 364 days consume you in one way or another until the horn blows at waters edge shortly after the singing of the Star Spangled Banner -- I can't think of a better way to start a day!

I had the honor to watch all IMLP entrants, and our trifuel friends, set off on their days journey to realize their dreams of crossing the finish line and hearing the phrase ...you are an Ironman. It can be hearing it for the 1st time or the 10th time, every time is a glorious moment.

I was a volunteer at the run Boat House aid station, a little over a 1/2 mile from the finish. I watched the many stories pass in front of me, 4 times on the 2 loop course, from the 1st elite runner who took us all by surprise, and the mens 1st, to the last runner coming through in pain and hurting at the high end 11:56 p.m with just a little over 3 minutes to cover more than a half mile.

Our own aid station volunteers joined in, our own beads185 among them, with the last runner, determined to bring him in before the 17 hour, midnight cutoff. We listened to the loudspeakers as Matt Long, the heralded NYC firefighter, a triathlete who was crushed by a bus 3 years ago riding in the city realized his dream of crossing the line at 16:58. A cheer went up at our station. We knew that one more still needed to cross the line and we waited as the time was counted down as they discovered there was one more runner coming in, coming in with our guys: 16:56, 16:57, 16:58, 16:59...

Midnight, 17:00... YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!

That's what Ironman is all about, the stories, the last 4 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPd2Qtknb7U

paganopj's picture
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 763
An awesome you tube...

An awesome you tube...

gfd
gfd's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2006
Posts: 3086
Gave me the chills.

Gave me the chills. Awesome.

deepbluex's picture
Joined: Oct 5 2005
Posts: 897
what moves me is not so much

what moves me is not so much the athlete's determination but the crowd support at such a late hour, after everyone has packed up and cleared the transition area. The supportive nature of the people who cheer each other on from sprints to ultras is so admirable and impressive to me. When I started doing tris, I never expected a competition to be so devoid of antagonism. It's a spirit and attitude that I really try to adopt and contribute myself.

TonisTri's picture
Joined: Jan 13 2008
Posts: 1238
that video is simply

that video is simply awesome.

3things's picture
Joined: Jul 1 2009
Posts: 19
Got chills watching that.

Got chills watching that. Thanks for sharing. I agree, deepbluex, the more I am around triathlon and the more people I meet, the more I am inspired and try to further instill that supportive overwhelmingly positive attitude in myself.

KellyW's picture
Joined: May 20 2009
Posts: 88
I was at the Boathouse too,

I was at the Boathouse too, for the last 4 hours, handing out chicken broth. Saw Matt Long and was also one of the ones who ran with the last finisher to the Oval. We all peeled off before the end and saw him go through the chute at the very last moment. It was amazing, just incredible. It was great to be at the aid station and see all the amazing athletes finish their quest to become Ironmen, from the elites to that very last guy.

Thanks for posting that video, it's awesome!

Paolina Allen, who came in 5th, came by the aid station and hung out with us at the end--she was so nice, down to earth, friendly, and encouraging. Really a great athlete AND a great person.

After volunteering I went and camped out on the ramp leading to the registration building--I was about 10th in line and the next day, got my slot for Lake Placid 2010. I'm in!

jtrimom's picture
Joined: May 20 2008
Posts: 3172
thanks for sharing- I can't

thanks for sharing- I can't wait to do mine!!

go 'gate 2006's picture
Joined: Sep 6 2007
Posts: 124
Between the writeup, and the

Between the writeup, and the video, this is arguably one of the best posts I've seen in my 690 days on Trifuel. Thank you for sharing.

TriSooner's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2007
Posts: 3376
gfd wrote:Gave me the

[quote=gfd]Gave me the chills. Awesome.[/quote]

I'm going to have to watch it later. I can't get sucked into this. I fear what I may see (in a good way). I can feel the anxiety after just reading the write-up.

wannakona's picture
Joined: Nov 6 2008
Posts: 737
Got goosebumps all over, and

Got goosebumps all over, and now i cant wait to sign up for mine!

Konstantin
www.TriBug.com

beads1985's picture
Joined: Mar 11 2004
Posts: 6147
It was an amazing day and I

It was an amazing day and I was just a volunteer this time.
Cayman and I met up with Anton, his wife MaryLou and their friend Janet to wish them luck and see the swim start. It was great seeing live as a spectator.
We got to the Boathouse aide station before noon and helped set it up.
My wife joined us for the first 4 hours before she had to go home.

It was very cool seeing the pro's come thru the aide station. I got to give Samantha McGlone and Matt Lieto a drink too.

After a few hours the age groupers really started coming thru.
I got to walk along with Anton, and then Janet and chat with them to give them a few words of encouragement.

Seeing Matt Long come thru and see the look of determination on his face, and seeing him on his last pass shortly before midnight, knowing he would make it and finally hearing his name called as he finished got me very choked up, and charged with adrenaline.

I saw Paul working his way toward our aid station soon after. He looked determined but worn out.
Checking my watch I knew he might not make it. We all clapped and encouraged him but the remainder of the course seemed too long for him to make it. It was starting to feel a little bit of a let down.

I resumed cleaning up and prepping to pack up.

A few minutes later we saw him on his way back, and he was coming along a little bit faster.
My heart was racing for him.
We were all shouting for him.

Checking my watch, he had only a few minutes, but it seemed like he could have a chance and I felt hope for him.

I don't know how it started but a bunch of us started running with him.
'C'mon Paul, you can do it' 'Push it', 'You're so close','You can make it'

The thought of stopping and letting him go never crossed my mind, and apparently our little group of volunteers who were running with him felt the same way. If anything was in his way, a fallen cone or a banner laying on the ground, it was cleared away for him.

We kept shouting, urging him forward, running faster.
Time kept passing.
We were under a minute and we got into the over. The finish line was with in sight.
The crowd got louder as we were seen.
Our shouts got louder. Paul looked so determined now.

At the last turn security held us back and Paul continued on. We watched as the clock count down the last few seconds. We were screaming for him.
16:58
16:59 he steps thru the finish line

17:00 His arms go up, Paul is an Ironman!

We were yelling and jumping and high fiving.
It probably was more exciting that finishing the Ironman myself.
It was an awesome feeling.

The videos were cool but they can't compare to being there.

On the walk back the aide station. The finish is all we could talk about.

Now we just had to pack up, and say our goodbyes.
The almost 13 hours spent there had me drained, sore and yet elated.
What a great day.

We went back to clean up and crash for a few hours.
John and I were on line to register by 5:15 am.

A few hours later we were registered for IMLP 2010.
I hope my IM is as fulfilling as my day volunteering

gfd
gfd's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2006
Posts: 3086
beads1985 wrote: 16:59 he

[quote=beads1985]
16:59 he steps thru the finish line

17:00 His arms go up, Paul is an Ironman!

We were yelling and jumping and high fiving.
It probably was more exciting that finishing the Ironman myself.
It was an awesome feeling.

[/quote]

And that attitude is why the triathlon community is so amazing.
The fact that one of the most memorable finishes in Ironman took place with the help of a few Trifuelers makes me proud to be part of this forum.
Good for you Beads, Cayman and anyone else who was a part of this.

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