Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WA Ironman 2008

Sunday 7th December 2008
No Surf School today, so we were able to have a bit of a lie in, it is Ironman day today so the Surf Rescue people have to be on hand to support that.
We went to the market for our fruit and veg and had a Sausage Sizzle, as you do, before driving in to town to watch a bit of the Ironman competition.
We started off sitting outside Gelato eating Ice Cream and watching the cyclists go by, by this time the leaders had started their run and these cyclists had been in the saddle for about 5 hours and were feeling every minute of it by the looks on some of their faces.
We then walked down to the foreshore and found out where the finish line was before we went for a coffee while the kids played on the beach.
With about half an hour to go before the first competitor was expected to cross the line, we made our way to the finish line and got some good seats in the grandstand (which wasn’t actually very grand) and waited for the first to cross the line.
While we were waiting, the Compere had us practicing our cheering and blow up Plastic Thing Slapping, the local dance group were trying to put on a show but appeared most of the time to be having trouble deciding which routine they should be doing next, and the local radio station was pumping out the music and giving us loads of Blah courtesy of a Radio Celeb who also happened to be the Compere.
Eventually the winner crosses the line accompanied by loads of cheering and Plastic Thing Slapping, within seconds the Compere and an Interviewer had dragged the guy in front of the cameras and were asking him how he felt, a bit of a stupid question really, he is obviously Happy but Knackered.
This guy had been on the go for about 7 hours and 50 minutes and they didn’t even give him a chance to get his breath back, the guy who won was a guy called Tim Berkel and he was very polite about people asking him stupid questions, we were quietly hoping that he would tell them how he really felt, but then that wouldn’t please the sponsors so it wasn’t likely.
The Ironman Competition consisted of a 3.8km Swim in the sea round the Jetty, the quickest was about 48 minutes, followed by a 180km Bike Ride in about 4 hours 20 minutes, followed by a 42.2km (Marathon) Run in about 2 hours 50 minutes and the ones that finished first didn’t even look puffed.
The elite in this event are something else, they are so focused. When we were watching the leaders running the Marathon, we noticed a couple of times that people who obviously knew the competitors were cheering them on within a couple of feet of them and they didn’t flinch, didn’t glance up, just carried on running, it was like they didn’t even notice that they were there.
After watching about the first ten come in we went home, it was very tiring watching that lot so we went to the beach to relax and ease our aching limbs.
In the evening we sat down to a nice healthy Pizza, at about 9pm we walked down to the end of our road which was the turning point for the Marathon and cheered on some of the stragglers that were still coming through. We stood there for half an hour applauding them as they turned round and headed back, this was 15 ½ hours after the event started and the event is only open for 17 hours so for some of them it was going to be touch and go as to whether they would finish in time.
We talked about what would possess people to put their bodies through that torment for close on 17 hours, and came to the conclusion that it would be too tiring to think about it and went to bed.
Well done to all those that took part, it is more than most of us would dream of.

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