The sport of triathlon impresses us for two important facts:

(1) it is a tough sport, and

(2) it remains focused on the masses, even during its greatest spectacle.

Open water swimmers occasionally snicker at triathletes who wear wetsuits in water under 20°C (68°F) or as they whiz by their multi-sport colleagues in a pool, but after watching triathletes of all ages and abilities compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, our respect for our triathlete colleagues is always renewed. Watching everyone who attempts and finishes a full Ironman – swimming in the Pacific Ocean, cycling through lava fields and managing marathon run – is impressive.

Of course, the situation – hot and humid – is on the opposite end of the human discomfort spectrum when compared with marathon or channel swimming. This presents a different sort of obstacles and battles.

More importantly, it is always great to see the sport’s elite compete alongside the sport’s masses. Pros and amateurs preparing, warming up and suffering together on race day. Both groups – those who do it for a living and those who enjoy the lifestyle – on the same course in front of the world’s media. Great stuff.

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