If you’re a triathlete then you probably either watched or followed some or all of Kona on Saturday or at least knew it was going on. NBC will have a broadcast of the race on November 15 from 1:30-3pm, but Ironman.com had a live feed going Saturday and it was a great day to watch a triathlon.
Kona is not anywhere in my near future, but it is definitely a bucket list item. It might take me until I am 70 to qualify and compete there, but Sister Madonna Buder and Harriet Anderson have shown me that that is absolutely possible.
At 78, Harriet Anderson is a 21-time Kona finisher and the oldest Kona female finisher. A record previously held by Sister Madonna Buder who has completed more than 300 triathlons and almost 50 Ironmans over the last 30 years and is in the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. While Harriet is the oldest female finisher at Kona, Sister Madonna still holds her own impressive record. In 2012, at 82, she completed Ironman Canada becoming the oldest woman to complete an Ironman.
While neither of them made it to the finish line of the 2014 Ironman World Championship, the fact that at 78 and 84 they showed up to race, which means they put in the grueling hours it requires to even be able to consider the race, is awe inspiring.
Another amazing woman that inspires me (and more than likely every other female and male triathlete out there) is Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae. This woman, if you don’t know her, is a BEAST! She is not only a 3 time Ironman World Champion, she is the female marathon course record holder and on Saturday only TWO people ran faster than she did. Yes, two people out of everyone racing.
Rinny came out of the water 6 minutes behind the lead women. By the end of the bike she was behind by over 14 1/2 minutes. As we watched the race, some of our friends doubted whether or not she would be able to make up that time on the run. Rinny herself said she started aiming for Top 5 first, then Top 3 unsure if she’d be able to make it to #1 in time. I however didn’t have a doubt she could do it. Her run is her strength and her determination is her secret weapon.
If you have never seen Rinny run, you should. It looks powerful yet effortless, fast yet controlled. This year Rinny completed the Ironman marathon in 2:50:26. She ran 26.2 miles at a 6:30 pace after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 miles ride with a finishing time of 9:00:55. There is a reason she is a three-time World Champion.
I’m not often starstruck, but I definitely was when I got to meet Rinny at Trimania last March. What a woman, what an athlete, what an inspiration.
Another woman that I am hoping to meet someday is an Alexandria local, Tina Ament. Tina is amazing not just because she completed Kona on Saturday, but she completed it as the first blind female athlete with a female guide. I have the pleasure of knowing an athlete that trains and races as one of Tina’s guides and Tina and all of her guides inspire me.
Check out this Today Show report of Tina’s Kona journey and read more at TodayShow.com.
These four women are my inspiration and motivation. They show me that anything is possible and that there truly are no limits to what we can achieve if we set our minds to it.