Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Can anyone do an Ironman?

The answer is yes. But it's the wrong question to ask and I will explain why at the end of this blog.

An Ironman is one of the worlds most gruelling endurance events and involves swimming in open water for 2.4 miles, cycling for 112 miles and then running a full 26.2 mile marathon.  All three parts of an Ironman are considered tough challenges in their own right however when you combine them together you are facing a task that many can not even finish. And when you consider that the cycling part is as long as some single Tour De France stages, but you are not allowed to slipstream otherwise you face disqualification, then you have some idea what you are up against.

I have just had the privilege of watching the Ironman UK 2013 and seen many people putting themselves through this incredible ordeal.  It was a strangely emotional day watching ordinary people do extraordinary things and the sheer magnitude of what they were doing was hard to comprehend.  What surprised me the most was that there were obviously some visibly honed athletes competing for a place at the World Championships at Kona Beach.  However there were also many others of various shapes and sizes, with no real chance of winning, who through sheer will, drove themselves mentally to the finish line. They were a picture of pain and suffering. Some were smiling through agony and engaging the crowd. Others inwardly focused and oblivious to the outside world.

I'm not going to profess to know what it takes to be an Ironman. Only the great ladies and gentlemen who crossed the finish line can answer that with any authority. But I do think that if you ask yourself the right questions then anything is possible. 

So the question should be - Do you really BELIEVE you can do an Ironman? Because if you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're probably right. On that rainy day in Bolton many people really did believe in themselves and they fulfilled their ambition of becoming an Ironman