Okay, what's more amazing? The way endurance athletes continually come up with new ways to challenge themselves. Or the way other endurance athletes look at those new challenges and think, "Hey, I can probably do that."
Face it, Ironman is really the result of a group sitting around stewing in testosterone trying to figure out just who was the toughest athlete. Most of us know the story, and from the pursuit of bragging rights was born an international phenomenon of endurance sports. In the early years, only a select few would consider punishing their bodies. Today, thousands pursue the title of Ironman every year. Some plan for years to achieve that goal. Others sign up on a whim and put little thought into accomplishing the task.
At some point, marathoners decided 26.2 miles just wasn't enough. That led to the emergence of 50K races, 50 mile ultramarathons, and the insanity of 100 mile and longer events. Of course, i use the term "insane" for 100 mile races, even as I consider the decision of doing a 50 mile race, myself. How far of a leap is it from 50 to 100 miles?
Many endurance athletes use their birthday as the opportunity to accomplish major goals, often centered on their age. More than a few ultramarathoners celebrate each birthday by running their age. Not a small task when we are in our 20s. A huge achievement in our 30s. And approaching bizarre as we get into our 40s and 50s.
In the continuing evolution, the idea evolves to apply the same theory to triathlon, and B-Fit B-Day is born. Now, hundreds of people are on board to celebrate their birthday by swimming, biking, and running increasingly longer distances. Oddly enough, the swim is the one that makes the biggest jumps, as participants swim mileage equal to the first digit in their name. Again, quite a swim even for a 20 year old. As we age, that swim becomes vastly more challenging.
Of course, the question is this. What's next? Last year, we had multiple runners complete 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. We have runners completing 150 mile treks. I even read about a bizarre race in New York City that covers thousands of miles over a several week period.
One thing is certain. As people come up with the next seemingly impossible task, others will flock to it thinking it just MIGHT be doable. And many will find it is, in fact, possible.
After that, it's only a matter of time before we'll find ourselves thinking, "Why not me?"
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.