My first experience with Ironman was in Lake Placid in July 2012.
As the time crept closer to midnight in Lake Placid, I sat on the grassy hill overlooking the finish watching athlete after athlete put every ounce of energy they had left into making it through the finishers chute. They had spent a long, grueling day out in the heat pounding the pavement, refusing to be defeated by the relentlessly hilly course. They entered the chute, with only a few hundred yards standing between them and the finish line, all seemingly driven by the same sudden motivation to not be caught walking across the finish. They ran, whether they could hold themselves fully upright or not, and they finished to the constant roar of the crowd. As the clock crept closer to midnight, the race announcer ran down the chute to cheer on the last few finishers. Once midnight had passed, volunteers combed the course for athletes still struggling out in the dark, to tell them that they hadn’t made it in time. I walked down the road and witnessed many people who refused to give up. They only had a few miles to go, and would cross the line even if it wasn't official. Others gave in to tears and collapsed when they were informed of the time
Everyone has their own reasons for entering an Ironman, triathlon’s ultimate challenge. As I sat on the hill, I was fortunate enough to see the first cancer survivor/heart transplant survivor/Ironman cross the finish line; the cheering from the crowd was deafening. You hear stories of people racing in memory of loved ones, with their names scrolled across helmets and clothes. People who have suffered from a disease and are racing to prove they cannot be beaten by it. Cancer conquerers. These are my people. We will not be defeated.
On September 9, 2015, I will be 4 years cancer-free, but my Dad's fight with the disease has just begun. I don't want to race my first Ironman for me. I want to race for Dad - and anyone else who's life have been affected by cancer. Team IMF has given me the opportunity to race for others - to give back to the community, and raise $3000 for those in need.
Everyone has their own reasons for entering an Ironman. Cancer conquerors: you are mine.
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