My incredible crew and I as we cross the finish line at the third day and conclusion of ULTRAMAN Canada. (click on photo)
Crossing the line are: My great friend and Crew Chief Kelvin Shields, my terrific son Connor, me, Darwin Holt - the patient and selfless hero that guided and coached me from the dream to an ULTRAMAN finish, and finally, my indefatigable nephew Ryan Weber. Not shown, but hugely instrumental in my finish, was my kayaker and outstanding swim pacer Marcel Allaire. Without this group of men, there would have been no possibility that I would have ever finished this 3-Day test of endurance. This should really be billed as a team-sport because it really takes a team to get the athletes through so much during the three days.
Day 1: 6.2 mile swim followed by a 90 mile bike
Day 2: 170 miles on the bike
Day 3: 52.4 mile double marathon run
It is claimed that over 50,000 people complete an Ironman Triathlon each year, and it was my dream to be one of those finishers; I'm still proud of that milestone. However, fewer than 60 people in the world will finish an ULTRAMAN under the cutoff times in any given year. That makes this event very special.
More than a "race" ULTRAMAN is an event that highlights the Hawaiian values of Aloha, Ohana and Kokua. Aloha means hello and goodbye. But it is so much more than that. Anyone who has stayed in the Islands understands instantly the friendly spirit, the easy way and the "feeling" of Aloha. Ohana means family, extended family or any group with a common bond, something that is very clearly evident at ULTRAMAN; it is a brotherhood for life. Kokua relates to generosity and to selfless giving, something that is critical from the crews in order for the athletes to complete the event. It also means that athletes are supportive of one another and generous in their encouragement, even to last place finishers like me!
There will be much more to say about ULTRAMAN, as I am still trying to process what I have just done. But one thing is clear: There is no possible way I could have completed this event without the Ohana, Kokua and Aloha of my ULTRAMAN family and especially from my incredible crew and Darwin Holt's patient, calming influence over these past six months while I was very worried about ever finishing.
On paper, there was no possible way for me to finish the 170 mile bike event under the 12-hour cutoff. I had never ridden that far or that fast for that long; never. In fact, it wasn't even close. But somehow, with the help of my crew and Darwin's belief and encouragement, we pulled off a miracle on Day 2 which kept this event, and my ultimate finish, alive.
Thanks to all of my new ULTRAMAN Ohana and to my incredible crew. Thanks a million times over!