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  • Heather's Hawaii Highlights

    Sat, 18 Oct 2008 00:29:47 -0800

    Heather gives her take on the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championships

    Now that we are one week removed from the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championships, I thought it would be a good time to reflect, and give my take on the race, and race week events.

    Number one on the list of course has to be the Underpants Run. This year was one of the most successful editions of the race, and once again we saw almost everything! Outside of Halloween, it is one of the only opportunities for grown men and women to act like total idiots and get away with it. And of course to raise over $4500 for the West Hawaii Special Olympics is icing on the cake.

    Madam Pele delivered what we consider a more “typical” Kona day. The winds were stronger than they have been in the past few years and the heat was pretty intense. Of course whenever you do the race, you think the year that you did it was the hardest ever. Well this year was not the hardest ever, but it certainly got closer to what we would expect in Kona. Of course this is easy for me to say as I am sitting in the shade all day, blocked from the sun and wind!!

    It was an honor for Paula and I to be able to lead out the swim on our stand-up boards. Paula led the Pro’s and I led the age group field. WE certainly had the best seat in the house. Man, it sure is a lot easier on the paddleboard – we were at the turnaround before I knew it!!!

    In the women’s race over the years, we have had countries that have dominated. In the late 90’s it was the Canadian women. Then it was time for the Down Under contingent to take over for a few years, with the Australian and New Zealanders. Now it seems as if we have entered the era of the European Invasion. I have always said that there was a changing of the guard coming. We saw the start of that last year, but this year the change-over has been complete. Many of the women we just came accustomed to seeing in the top 10 were not longer there, but rather a new group was emerging. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that with 3 women in the top 10 – the US girls are making a comeback!!!

    I must say a huge congratulations to our 2 Champions, Chrissie Wellington and Craig Alexander. For Chrissie, I am not sure if she is aware of the fact that history has shown that coming back and defending your title in Kona is not an easy thing and she did it with flying colors. Despite having to deal with her flat tire, she made everything look easy! For Craig Alexander, it is great to see that all his hard work has paid off. He learned a lot from his rookie performance here last year, and made necessary changes in his training to move him up the ladder to that top spot.

    We had many great performances by the athletes, and congratulations to everyone that crossed that finish line. For those of you that didn’t, there will always be another Ironman race. Use this opportunity as a learning experience and move forward.

    A couple of athlete performances that stand out are in our Women’s age group races.
    - Wendy Mader was the first Age Group women out of the water, the first age group woman OVERALL, and was the only women in the field to break an AGE GROUP record. Pretty amazing and congrats to Wendy on her 9:53.51 finish.
    -Rhae Shaw had the fastest women’s age group bike split of the day of 5:15.32 on the way to her 10:22.31 finish. Only 5 pros rode faster!! Way to go Rhae.

    So there you have it, Hawaii is in the books and now we look forward to our final races of the season – Ford Ironman Florida and Ford Ironman Arizona.