It wasn’t the best day for a triathlon. The skies were overcast and it had begun to lightly drizzle. But, on this day, women who had trained hard were hoping to finish the race to become Iron Girls!
The first few swim waves went off seemingly without a hitch. With each blow of the horn you could feel the nervous excitement. But, it’s that nervous feeling that releases the endorphins they needed to make it through the race. They had trained for a long time and now it was their time to shine!
Just before the next swim wave began there was something that seemed a little odd. A woman from the previous swim wave was heading back to the start line. Spectators didn’t know what was happening. Did she decide to quit the triathlon within minutes of her race? Did she need medical attention? She stopped and began talking to another athlete. The two women must have known each other because just before number 858 turned around to begin swimming again, they embraced for a hug.
It was later learned that the two ladies didn’t know each other at all. Number 858 had started her swim and then decided she couldn’t do it and started heading back to the start line to quit the race. The other woman stopped her and gently reminded her that she had trained hard for this race and today she was going to become an Iron Girl! She then proceeded to comfort number 858 with a hug and briefly discussed the different strokes she could do to get to the swim finish. She pointed out the closest safety kayak and encouraged the girl to just go do it! Number 858 took her advice, turned, and began swimming. Of course, everyone that watched this story unfold was interested in whether she had completed the race or not and, sure enough, she completed the race that day and became an Iron Girl for the first time.
You can’t define triathletes only by the skill it takes for them to complete a race. Triathletes are people who have a heart and a passion for this sport, their teammates, and their competitors. You see it in Pro’s as they wait at the Kona Ironman finish line to congratulate the age group participants and you see it in women like this as they encourage others to reach their goals. Yes, it’s great to be able to stand at the finish line with a trophy in your hand, but just as important are times like this that make us all so proud to be part of this community.
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