Whether it be choosing to race for an important cause through the IRONMAN Foundation, winning a slot through the new "Kona Inspired" campaign, having raced more than 12 IRONMANS, or just pure luck (getting a lottery slot), there are a number of athletes who were very happy to be in Kona this year. We recap a few of these athletes
In addition to the following athletes, this year saw the return of “Iron Icons” Julie Moss and Kathleen McCartney, whose race in 1982 garnered mass media attention. Though Moss said she wanted to beat her time of 30 years ago, a 12:35:58 is nothing to be ashamed of. She biked a 6:28:48, despite never having gone over six hours on the island before, but it was a tough day. Her compadre, McCartney, clocked a 13:32:39, a strong finish considering she hadn’t run more than 10 miles in training.
Kona Inspired Athletes
These athletes were selected by fans after submitting videos to the IRONMAN official YouTube channel.
Bethann Telford (15:13:42) was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005, she was forced to take a time out from her normally active lifestyle to undergo surgery. As part of her recovery process, Telford had to teach herself how to walk again. Today, she finished an IRONMAN.
Shay Eskew (10:45:49) didn’t quite meet his goal of completing Kona in under 10 hours, as it was a tough day out there. When Shay was a young boy he and his friend were accidently lit on fire. He remembered to stop, drop and roll and also managed to save his friends life. Both boys were severely burnt.
Heather Wajer (13:53:50) lost her mom to ALS and hit bottom as a result. She created a whole new life by losing half of her body weight (157 lbs), getting sober and transitioning to the IRONMAN lifestyle.
Annee Deering (11:52:31) This year, Kona Inspired athlete Annee decided to open up and tell a very personal story for the first time. Battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a very young age, she used triathlon to help heal herself from the difficult after-effects of childhood sexual abuse. Today she has reached a place where sport is her therapy, having finished her first IRONMAN in Coeur d’Alene in 12:17:17, and beating it here on the Big Island.
Brady Murray (10:51:32) has a son with Down Syndrome. He raced this year for Reece’s Rainbow and RODS Racing who advocate adoption of children with Down syndrome. This year in Kona, Brady beat his IRONMAN St. George time of 12:26:19.
Mike Thompson (12:53:41) was diagnosed with leukemia as a young boy, and endured 75 surgeries, two bone marrow transplants, and a 12 and a half hour facial reconstruction surgery. Mike celebrates life by training for IRONMAN events and defying what doctors told him would be impossible. Today, in under 13 hours.
Molli Serrano (11:31:38) has been competing in triathlon for over 15 years and has completed several IRONMAN events. When she found out she had pancreatic cancer, Serrano would ride with her radiation pack in the back of her bike jersey during her radiation treatments with one thing on her mind: getting to Kona.
Rob Verhelst (16:40:03), aka “Fireman Rob” is a firefighter from Madison, WI. He did the run portion here in Kona in full firefighting gear to raise money and awareness for Code 3 for a Cure, a charity that helps firefighters and their families affected by cancer. Rob has finished multiple IRONMAN events, three just this year.
IRONMAN Foundation Athletes
These athletes selected a cause and partnered with the IRONMAN Foundation to help them reach their goals.
Dan Cronin (Veterans Healing Initiatives) is here raising money and spreading awareness for the Veterans Healing Initiative (VHI). In addition to using IRONMAN as a way to fundraise, Cronin says that the events themselves serve as a sort of rehabilitation for people trying to overcome addiction. Today, he went 13:39:25.
Mike Thompson (Go Mitch Go Foundation) finished in 12:53:41. He has quite the backstory: As a 10-year-old, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a blood cancer rarely found in children. Today, 26-year-old Mike Thompson is still fighting. He may not be fighting for his own life, but he fights for the lives of others who are affected by cancer. He fights to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. He encourages others through his countless hours of volunteer work and speaking engagements, and he inspires those around him with his tireless involvement in running, swimming, cycling, and triathlons.
Theodore Roosevelt (Navy Seal Foundation) raced today to provide support to the Naval Special Warfare community and its families. He finished his day in 13:53:27.
Todd Crandell (Racing for Recovery) finished in 13:30:54. He is a former addict who found triathlon, and founded a unique rehabilitation program that uses triathlon as a way to overcome substance abuse. After battling a drug addiction that lasted nearly 13 years, Crandell finally saw the light and got the motivation he needed to pull himself out of the darkness.
Michael Starkey (Running Works) finished in 9:54:07, Kevin Sullivan (American Heart Association) finished in 10:53:33, Kim O’Callaghan (Outward Bound) did a 13:48:19,
Raising money for the IRONMAN Foundation in general, we had New York based financial analyst Gotham Makker finish in 13:16:50, Paul Barnhart from Houston a 12:04:34, Bob Whitman from Salt Lake City in 13:49:05, Mark DeVincentis 12:44:11, Randy Work in 9:42:33, Alex Scherz in 11:10:23 and Robert Wessman in 15:30:29
Teresa Byrnes, a cancer survivor raising money through the MaccaNow Foundation, finished in 16:11:57.
Kristen David, raising money for her late friend’s charity for Haitian orphans (Renew Hope), finished in 15:52:10.
Bonner Paddock, the first personal with cerebral palsy to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro (and raising money for UCPA-Hawaii), finished in 16:38:35 to a wild crowd. Greg Welch was his coach, so good job Welchy!
Peter Politis (MBTC- Mark Schild Scholarship) finished in 5:31:57.
Executive Challenge Athletes
Last but not least, here’s how our field of Executive Challenge athletes fared:
Randy Christofferson (MIOGA Ventures, LLC) - 13:42:59
Ghislain Grandisson (Canadian Tire) - 10:56:24
Carl Wernicke (Oak Hill Advisors) - 11:46:37
William Wiseman (Cumming Construction Management, Inc) - 11:36:17
Derek Glanvill (McCarthy Holdings, Inc) – 13:43:52
Guy Berkebile (Guy Chemical Company) - 11:15:34
Luis Alvarez (SAG MECASA S.A. DE C.V.) - 14:30:10
Mark Moses (MarkMoses.net) - 13:32:27
Guneet Bajwa (Presidio Companies) - 13:54:36
Jerome LeJamtel (Natixis) - 11:17:49
David Zucker (Vitacost.com) - 11:39:14
Dan Foehner (Facebook) - 10:53:13
Robert Reuther (Carolina Eyecare Physicians) - 14:19:32
Michael Morales (Corporacion Industrial, S.A) - 11:47:30
Erique Sanchez (Nueva Generation) - 11:01:36
Phil Richards (Smartpayroll and Smart Centre) - 10:59:51
Jamie Van Vuren (Bee Line) -13:20:02
Mark Watt (William Blair & Co) - 11:30:28
Adrian Maizey (Rand Group, LLC) -11:59:23
Barbara Ann Bernard (Holowesko Partners Ltd.) - 12:42:00
Jim Callerame (International Paper Company) - 14:25:51
David Klvac (PostRock Energy Corporation) - 16:02:14
David Spartin (Twin Lakes Brewery) - 15:49:07