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It’s mile 20 of your IRONMAN marathon and you’ve bonked. Hard. Quitting is not an option. Where does your mind go to find the strength to push through?

8 Life Lessons Learned At The IRONMAN Bonk
The IRONMAN Foundation’s TEAM IMF Athletes reveal what inspires them to be IRONMAN tough.

  • Brett McMahon, IRONMAN Louisville Finisher
    “[I realized that] I possess the ability to inspire people. That thought literally brings wonderment to me… because, I’m really just a normal guy. A normal guy that chose to accept a challenge and merely just swam, biked, and ran my proverbial @SS off for six months before “toeing the line”. I received so much joy by looking at the crowds on the side of the road. I could see it in people’s eyes… and I heard it in their words. Imagine the possibilities if we could all inspire only a few people throughout the duration of our lives.”
  • Chris Keating, IRONMAN Maryland Finisher
    “I’ve learned that if you dream big and work hard for it, dreams will come true. There is nothing that you can dream that you will not be able to achieve by putting your whole heart, soul and mind into. IRONMAN is a physical feat that appears to some as impossible, but to those that do it, realize that it is a journey of not just a physical challenge but one that changes your lifestyle, mindset and character. It builds grit, determination, perseverance and makes you find your personal motivation, all of which carry over into your everyday life to help you achieve your once thought “impossible” dreams and turns them into reality.”
  • Thomas Walls, IRONMAN Chattanooga Finisher
    “There are numerous tasks that we do on a day to day basis that easily allows us to take credit for actions that we have no control over. On race day, however, you and only you are responsible for the outcome. Either you did the training or you didn’t. You either give up or go for it, but at the end of the day when you cross the line it is you and you alone who is accountable.”
  • Stewart Harmann, IRONMAN Arizona Finisher
    “When I got off the bike at 7 hours total, I was shivering uncontrollably and sat down in the change tent to change my shoes. I looked at the volunteer there to help me and said, “I don’t want to go back out in this – I can’t do it.” He looked at me and said very assertively, “It is not going to get any better sitting here.” So, out I went, back out into the rain and cold. Another sweet volunteer gave me some light wool running gloves as I left still shivering and sent me running. Within a mile I felt really good again and started to warm up. For the next 26.2 miles, I thought about what those two volunteers did for me and taught me – it will never get any better if I just sit in the tent waiting for the situation to improve. You have to get moving, you have to stay focused and as you do so, things start to fall into place. You feel better, your perspective changes and there is more joy and “sunlight”.”
  • Rich Alamo, IRONMAN Arizona Finisher
    “Being overweight and an alcoholic, close to taking my own life, led me to IRONMAN to find an escape from the demons that drove me to self-destruction. It was my IRONMAN experience that taught me strength, dedication, endurance and perseverance. The IRONMAN experience can be selfish at times, because it takes away from other commitments in your life, or most of the training is done as an individual, however, an experience fundraising for The IRONMAN Foundation taught me so many valuable lessons.”Article
  • Stephanie Felber, IRONMAN Texas Finisher
    “When I had bump in the road with cancer, a lot of people said I needed to slow down anyway. I remember my treatments & always telling the nurses, I wasn’t normal, I was an IRONMAN. Cancer may have given me a hurdle, but I could jump that hurdle and still live my life. Being an IRONMAN gave me the strength to overcome and endure what I had to go through. I have learned to accept setbacks, regroup and move forward sometimes in a different direction. I always had a positive outlook on life and IRONMAN tests that every time with conditions, issues and unforeseen circumstances.”
  • Sheila Heistand, IRONMAN Louisville Finisher
    “I have always fancied myself a competitive person.  Someone who will do whatever it takes to win.  What IRONMAN taught me was that there are much bigger and more important results than winning. Perhaps the biggest lesson about the definition of “winning” is being involved in TEAM IMF, a program that allows you to raise money for your community and non-profits as you train, sweat and bleed for the sport you love.  IRONMAN is a sport of individual determination. Those of the “turtle community” listen to our own thoughts for 17 hours, and spend many of those hours trying to convince ourselves why not to quit. Through TEAM IMF, that never enters your mind. You can’t quit. Your community needs you.”
  • Stewart Harmann, IRONMAN Arizona Finisher
    “When I got off the bike at 7 hours total, I was shivering uncontrollably and sat down in the change tent to change my shoes. I looked at the volunteer there to help me and said, “I don’t want to go back out in this – I can’t do it.” He looked at me and said very assertively, “It is not going to get any better sitting here.” So, out I went, back out into the rain and cold. Another sweet volunteer gave me some light wool running gloves as I left still shivering and sent me running. Within a mile I felt really good again and started to warm up. For the next 26.2 miles, I thought about what those two volunteers did for me and taught me – it will never get any better if I just sit in the tent waiting for the situation to improve. You have to get moving, you have to stay focused and as you do so, things start to fall into place. You feel better, your perspective changes and there is more joy and “sunlight”.”
  • Benjamin Hess, IRONMAN Florida Finisher
    “Once you finish your first IRONMAN you are empowered.  You cannot dispute that.  Though my first IRONMAN finish was to prove to myself that anything is possible and that I could do it, after that, the motivation becomes something more.  Not just to finish, but to inspire, motivate, and encourage others.  Race for More.”

Are You Ready to Race for More?
It’s YOUR turn to make a difference. From first-timers to IRONMAN veterans, TEAM IMF Athletes finish each race with more than just a medal to hang. They walk away with a renewed appreciation for the IROMMAN journey, and everything that comes along with it. From training day-one to crossing that finish line, TEAM IMF teammates change more than just their own lives, they change the lives of thousands in the IRONMAN race communities.

It’s not too late to join this amazing group of athletes; there are still slots available at select U.S. IRONMAN Events! Learn more about how you can become a part of the movement by checking out the TEAM IMF Webpage, and start your journey to making a difference today!

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TEAM IMF is The IRONMAN Foundation’s Fundraising program, in which athletes support The Community Behind The Course through their IRONMAN Journey. By committing to fundraise for The IRONMAN Foundation’s Community Fund, TEAM IMF teammates receive an entry into select U.S. IRONMAN events at no additional cost! Since inception, The IRONMAN Foundation has given back over $46 million in grant funding to deserving charitable organizations within our race communities, thanks to the outstanding dedication of IRONMAN Foundation Athletes. To learn more about how you can give back, and make an impact in IRONMAN race communities visit our website, www.ironmanfoundation.org.

 

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