Friday, October 10, 2014

Ironman World Championship Well-Wishes

On Saturday, some 2,200 Ironman athletes will enter the water just off the pier in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to compete in the Ironman World Championship.

Through some crazy events over the last ten years, I'll actually know many of those competing -- and some that are there to offer moral support too.

I can only count one professional (that will be competing) as a Facebook friend -- Pennsylvanian Kim Schwabenbauer.  Proud that she'll not only be representing the Commonwealth, but also Penn State.

Corpus Christi's Ed Cheatham will be there as a race official with his wife, Candy.

Competing in the men's 50-54 age group will be Finish Strong Sports and Conroe Triathletes' Kent Morris.  There's not too many classier - and humble - gentlemen around than Kent.  So glad to see him get this opportunity.

In the men's 45-49 division is Houston's Greg Colvin.  I met the former James Madison defensive lineman for the first time on the plane home from Ironman Lake Placid in July 2010.  It was the very first Ironman that I ever covered.

Houston's Matthew Chauvin and The Woodlands' Michael Young are both in the 40-44 age group.

Both Greg and Matthew I've gotten to know through my friendship with Walt and Lisa Yarrow.

This is Michael's second straight trip to the World Championship.  He and a triathlete from Japan are the only two to win lottery spots the last two years.

Not sure about the other guy, but of course, Michael wouldn't be disappointed if good fortune came his way a third time.

The final lottery spot from the area went to Spring's Eric Fontaine, who has done somewhere between 15 and 20 Ironmans.

He just had some very recent surgery - having read a post on OutRival Racing's wall -- but he'll figure out a way to make it across the finish line.

Then in the women's 45-49 division, there are two women that I hope finish in the top 10 and it wouldn't disappoint if they went 1-2.

Those two talented ladies are The Woodlands' Karen Ponette-Maldonado and Peggy Yetman, who now calls Fort McMurry, Alberta, Canada.

Peggy has finished on the podium three times at Kona in the 40-45 age division -- one each at first, second and third.

Karen has the fastest time of all qualifiers in their division with her 9:45 at Ironman Cozumel.

Peggy made it to Kona by winning her age group at Ironman New Zealand early this year.

Other than families, there are friends and others that I know who are there from The Woodlands to cheer these great athletes on, including Greg and Maureen Gibbons, Balazs Csoke and Tim Floyd.

One of these days, I'll make it out there to cover the last of the three endurance granddaddy races - having been already to the Boston Marathon and the Western States 100 before.

Best wishes to all tomorrow!

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