IronMan Kona 2022 – a feel for the “crazy” and “determination” of being a bystander on a day that saw the course record being broken!
My husband, Eric Ziemelis, got down to the Ironman start at 5:45 am to capture the beginning of the race on Saturday October 8th. He stayed all day to capture the athletic drama and enthusiasm of the volunteers and bystanders. He also captured some amazing drone shots!
The incredible thing about the men’s winner was how fast he completed the race at 7:40, a new course record. To give you an idea of weather during the event, it was 88 degrees and no breeze at 2 pm on the course. If you have ever sat in the heat of the day near the shoreline or god forbid, out on Queen K in the lava fields, you will know how absolutely uncomfortable that is. Now run it. And run it after you already swam two miles at 6 am and biked 100 miles into the lava fields and back to now run a marathon in the heat of the day.
What these athletes are able to accomplish is simply amazing. I don’t know of too many other competitions in this world that challenge the human body as much as Ironman. There was a video of a woman literally flailing on the ground as she was trying to crawl across the finish line and finally having to be carried by two first aid people in a heartbreaking example of the body giving up before the will.
As an aside, I DID see an Ironman athlete yesterday on his way out of Kona. My friends on Facebook posted stories of incredible feats of determination and I wanted to let congratulate that man and tell him how proud I was of him. He gratefully accepted the praise and said it was the hardest thing he did and we both agreed that the winner, setting a course record, was a beast. For the many people who disliked the traffic and some of the antics of the athletes on the road, MANY of my friends were thrilled to volunteer and help make the event a success as it pushed the limits of our little town to host so many people at once. I am actually sad I missed it, but will be there in some tent with a bunch of my friends and Kona Newbies volunteering and cheering the athletes on in 2023.
Here is what the winner of the race had to say about Kona: “That was so epic, and I’m so proud of Sam and Kristian making the podium. I’m not sure if I’m coming back here, this was too hard.” Even Gustav Iden found out how hard it is to run and bike through a lava field in October!
If you would like to learn more about how to volunteer for the Ironman, visit their site and join the Kona Newbies Group if you are newish to Kona and be part of a group volunteer experience in 2023!