Friday, October 9, 2009

Name Dropping at Ironman

It's less than 24 hours before the 2009 Ironman World Championships. The pros have signed their autographs and had the meet and greets. The age groupers are spotting familiar faces and their competitions. They all have been shuttling between the beach and Lava Java, donning their skivvies for the infamous underwear run and sporting those buff bods all over town. But before the cannon goes off on October 10 to start the big dance, we thought it'd be fun to take a look at some of the names and faces among the 1,876 bibs (164 professionals) that will be dotting the course--or crammed like sardines in Kailua Bay. So without further ado, here's our version of name-dropping at the Ironman.

Craig Alexander. Alexander returns to Kona to defend his title in 2009 after besting Eneko Llanos in 2008. He finished second to Chris McCormack in 2007 when he first tackled the distance and has an impressive triathlon career.

Andy Potts. I'm curious to see how this speedster fares simply because he suffered a bad crash at the Chicago Triathlon--he got side-swiped by an age grouper while pedaling 35 mph on Lakeshore Drive. He can perform but the question is did the crash affect his performance much like Michellie Jones' '07 drop-out due to a perforated ear drum (let me double check that fact).

Chrissie Wellington. What doesn't stop this Iron-woman prowess? She first raced Ironman in 2007, then won the World Championship. Then in 2008 she crossed first with a speedy marathon time--and almost got stranded out on the bike course with a flat and busted CO2 cartridge.

Bree Wee. Local to Kona, she's an age=grouper turned pro who's back to race on her home turf. Plus I just love reading her blog.

Hillary Biscay. She won Ironman Wisconsin 2008, finished third in 2009--and I happened to luck out and body-mark her that morning--plus she's been racing like crazy at the Ironman distance with no slowing down before Kona. She was in Barcelona for one of the Challenge series races before landing in Kona.

Adrian Fenty. The mayor of D.C. is a triathlete--a good one at that who's had impressive finishes at the Nation's Triathlon--and gunning for Ironman.

Mike Adamle. Chicagoans know Adamle well for his history playing with the Chicago Bears, a Northwestern alum and sportscaster on NBC 5. Adamle is also a triathlete who's returning to the Ironman distance to ring in his 60th birthday.

Matt Hoover. By name his name might not ring a bell, but if you add winner of the second season of The Biggest Loser, then maybe you'll remember this overweight former wrestler who shed enough weight to best his competitors. Hoover, who married Suzy from the show and had two kids, was starting to look a little pudgy on The Biggest Loser recaps, but he announced earlier in the year that he wanted to do Ironman. A bib was assigned to him so let's hope he makes it to the finish line.

Rudy Garcia-Tolson. Garcia-Tolson is one impressive athlete--and he does it all without having two legs. Always wanted to be the first bilateral above-knee amputee to complete the event, he's trounced the competition in Olympic-distance races.

Sr. Madonna Buder. If you've ever followed triathlon, you've probably heard of Sister Madonna. At 79, she's still competing in Ironman races and already finished Ironman Canada at the end of August. She has the record of being the oldest female to complete a triathlon--and that's coming from someone who only started running at 49.

Bob Scott. My eyes have been on Scott mostly because he's a Chicagoland triathlete. But at 78, his times are impressive and he can beat competitors easily half his age. I'll be curious to see how quick he is because age doesn't seem to be slowing him down.

For more athlete stories from those competing at the Ironman World Championships, read some of the coverage at And be sure to tune into the live webcast at beginning at 11 a.m., central time. Posted by Kate

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