What could be more natural than a Spartan running down the boardwalk in Wilmington, NC? In Asheville, this wouldn’t even turn heads. Actually, there was a logical reason (I suppose) behind the costume. You see, this was the marathon portion of an Ironman Triathlon.
In true Greek spirit, this guy re-enacted the heroic tale of Pheidippides, the fleet-footed warrior who is fabled to have run 25 miles to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. Of course, we didn’t have the heart to tell him that Pheidippides dropped dead right after.
What is an Ironman, you ask? It isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. The full Ironman distance consists of the following:
2.4 mile swim (in the Atlantic ocean for this race)
112 mile bike ride
26.2 mile run
My brother did this race in 2012 in a little over 13 hours, so he still holds the family record for athletic prowess.
If you’ve never witnessed this event, I strongly encourage you to get out and watch one. The atmosphere is electric, as hundreds of excited spectators mingle against a colorful backdrop of music, food and street vendors.
You can feel the nervous tension of the athletes at the starting line, like thoroughbreds twitching behind the gates at the Kentucky Derby. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, and the adrenaline stayed with me long after.
Do I sense a new goal starting to take shape??? My heart says “Yes, yes!” but the little men with spears under my chest where my tissue expanders are say “Later, later (maybe)!!”