Saturday, October 9, 2010

All in a Day's Work at Ironman World Championship

Between cloudless sunny skies and temperatures rising to above 80 degrees, you'd think it was still summer in Chicago. And if you ignored the changing colors of the leaves, imagined some palm trees and pictured those waves you saw in Lake Michigan last weekend, you just might be able to transport your mind to Kona dreaming.

OK, that's a far-reaching stretch. I know because I just caught some of my friend's Big Island honeymoon pictures and know that Chicago could never be a Hawaiian paradise. But when the Ironman World Championship is happening, I can watch it live via my computer, and social media has become the go-to source for companies when it comes to updating Iron-fans, the Windy City comes pretty darn close. In the few spare minutes I had today--between an awesome, insightful Nike meeting to driving my parents to McCormick Place to return empty-handed on a Bank of America perk for tomorrow's race, and pre-race stretching to a family dinner--I was following the faves I wrote about earlier in the week plus a few more whose names skipped my mind when I created my original list. Although the finish line has yet to close, here are some of the finishers among those I tracked. More to come tomorrow--it's almost midnight here and that means time to get to bed so I can run 26.2 tomorrow.
  • Mirinda Carfrae. I know she's a fast runner and I know she wanted this win--I interviewed her in July, which means you'll have to come back to read some of those notes--but talk about an awesome race day. She ran her marathon faster than several guys, logging 2:53:32, and becoming the World Champion in 8:58:36. Some could argue that she won because Chrissie Wellington had to pull out after feeling flu-like, but I beg to differ. She dug deep to pass on the run and never had to look back. 
  • Chris McCormack. Here's an Aussie who's back on top as Ironman World Champion--he last won in 2007. But this win at 8:10:37 certainly didn't come easy. I'll have to go into more depth when I can think again tomorrow.
  • Andreas Raelert. This guy knows how to make a World Champion run fast for his win. Raelert pushed Alexander last year, and he and Macca were running head to head for a while (if I read Twitter correctly) until Macca pulled ahead. The finish was close with Raelert coming in at 8:12:17.
  • Craig Alexander. How can you not like Crowie and root for him? From, it sounded like Alexander was at a distinct disadvantage during the bike this year, and while he could try to play catch up on the run, even his 2:41:59 marathon split wasn't enough to catch McCormack and Raelert. But he did log a 8:16:53 for the day.
  • John Lloyd. I used to work with Lloyd's wife with Windy City Sports and Rocky Mountain Sports and let's just say, here's a family with a healthy Ironman obsession. They've traveled the world to compete and try for World Championship berths. Lloyd finally gained his earlier this year (again, I'll check tomorrow to tell you where), and finished today in 10:11:56.
  • Adam Zucco. Dang, he took eighth in his 35-39 age group in 9:16:34.
  • Christine Anderson. If you thought Zucco was fast, Anderson might be faster, comparative to her age group at least. She took seventh in her division (25-29) with a 10:28:25. 
  • D'Arcy Lynch. I happened to be watching when Lynch crossed the finish line in 10:51:43. 
  • Laura Sophiea. She just happened to be crossing the finish line at the same time as Lynch. Who knew?
  • Julie Shelley. I think it's safe to say that Shelley just keeps getting faster--or that she really likes racing in the heat. Shelley capped off the day finishing in 10:58:51.
  • Sonja Wieck. I've checked in on Wieck's blog throughout the summer and now I'll be looking forward to reading her race report. She came in at 10:17:53.
Stay tuned for more race highlights come tomorrow. It's shut-eye time for me as much as I'd love to continue watching these athletes cross the Ironman finish line. Talk about addictive--and inspiring. Darn, I'm so wishing I signed up for a 2011 Ironman, like Wisconsin again.

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