Roch, Paul and Steve Katai at the Underpants Run.
It’s crazy Thursday.
Thursday is traditionally the busiest day for athletes prior to the event. There is so much going on. Of course the day started with the annual Kona Underpants run, which was a roaring success, The guys raised a record amount of money for the Kona Special Olympics, with a record turnout for the event. There were plenty of newcomers, and the crowds who now eagerly anticipate this spectacle were lining the streets. Paul looked especially good in his new Afro wig to complete the look.
Then it is a big day for appearances at the expo. I spent a good hour on a panel with some of the top Gatorade Sports scientists giving insight and info into refueling and hydrating for optimal performance in the race. It basically comes down to water, sugar and salt….it’s that simple really.
Then it is on to the pro meeting with all the directors outlining the new aspects of the course, and the usual lecture from Charlie Crawford regarding penalties. It will be the first time that pro rules rare going to apply here…the pro athletes are going to be racing with the stagger rule as opposed to the 10meter directly behind rule. It will be interesting to see how that all pans out. In addition Steve Locke let everyone present know that the Anti Doping control is now able and will be testing for EPO in urine tests.
One of the highlights of the day was a gathering later in the afternoon of many of the former champions for portraits and a group shot. It was great to see so many of the former ironman champions gathered together in one place. It was definitely a rare occasion…particularly to see Dave Scott, Tinely and Molina together (Mark Allen unfortunately was not there).
The Carbo dinner was a wonderful presentation for this 25th anniversary, with lots of local flavor…..most appealing being the opening pray and blessing Hawaiin style. Many of the great stories of the ironmans past were feastured – Dick and Ricky Hoyt, Emily’s story. They are all back to participate again this year. Once again all the former Ironman Champions were brought on stage, along with 8 of the original 15 ironman participants. It was a group photo for the ages, and both Heather and I were extremely pleased to be a part of that moment in history.
It was a day filled with the pressures of the race to come on Saturday, but it was also a day that had some rare and wonderful moments for so many of the personalities that have created the history of this event to come together in a relaxed setting. As I sat on the wall beside Nastashca chit chatting about the year, with Erin Baker to my other side, it was certainly a moment that will most likely not happen for many years to come if again.
The weekend is calling for fairly light winds and hot temperatures. So whats new…some wind and heat to come for race day.