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.