Ironman is turning 30 this year, and I’m not sure if it’s the birthday or the alignment of the stars but today was like a past champion’s reunion. Walking the Avenue of the Stars, Alii Drive, I saw 1988 champ Scott Molina who flew up from his home in New Zealand with his son Miguel. He is looking more cut than when he won his title, even though he claims to only be “participating”. This is the 20 year anniversary of his win in 1988, but then who's counting.
Two-time champ Scott Tinley arrived today complete with a new hip and a new lease on life. His fellow San Diegans are saying the replacement was a success and he can now both write about sports and do them. In typical S.T. fashion he showed up two hours and thirty-one minutes late for the traditional Aloha Reception that Ironman puts on for the mucky-mucks of the sport, but then who’s counting.
Eight-time winner Paula Newbie Fraser stopped by our MarkAllenOnline booth today to check in. She’s traded her bike for a standup surfboard ala Laird Hamilton who led the swim at last year’s race, and just loves it. Dave Scott has been speaking and signing all around the expo. It’s been twenty-eight years since his first victory in Kona, but then who's counting. 2006 women’s champ Michelle Jones is on-island. She’s not racing this year, but hinted that winning at age forty has an intriguing ring to her for 2009.
Tons of past champs are racing. Luc Van Lierde of Belgium is back…once again. Thomas Hellriegel is back…once again. Chrissie Wellington is back…once again. Faris Al-Sutan is back…once again. Natasha Badman is back…once again. Peter Reid is back…once again, but he’s not racing, just being a low-key rock star. Anyway, get the picture? There are lots of proven quantities toeing the line Saturday. It will be anything but predictable.
A story from our MarkAllenOnline team is going to come to you in the next eNews that we will send out post-race. It comes from Mark Lytle who joined us in April after he got a slot for Kona in the lottery. I don’t want to tell his entire story here but the very short version is that he lost tons of weight and got way faster after seven years of training without any real guidance.
Stay Tuned. Only a few days to go, and usually something comes to the surface in that time. We will keep our eyes wide open.