Completing an Iron Man is a noteworthy task. To be an Iron Man, you must swim 2.2 miles in open water, bike 112 miles, followed by a 26.2 mile run. It is not something that I would ever want to do, but I admire those that chose to take on the task. On July 22nd, I watched my brother, cousin, 63 year old uncle, and 2 friends decide to take on the challenge, and complete an Iron man.
The race began at 7:00 am and my uncle, the last of our group to finish, crossed the finish line at 10:30 pm. It is a long day for all involved. However, it is also an amazing thing to see. A wonderful side of humanity seems to emerge when everyone is pushing themselves to their limits. With 2,500 people starting the race, there are a lot of fans. And those fans cover the streets, there are people cheering EVERYWHERE. And for this one day, everyone gets along, for this one day, everyone is kind to each other, for this one day, the fans job is to encourage, and support each man and women that made the decision to start this great task, and it's pretty cool to see. To watch people cheering for someone that they will probably never meet, to hear people shouting words of encouragement to total strangers. To watch friends and family members walk beside their iron men up the challenging hills. The hills that they are asked to face after swimming 2.2 miles and biking 112 miles.
Participants are required to finish the race by midnight. If they are not across the finish line at this point, they do not become an iron man. As the day got later, and the sky turned dark, we expected the finish line area to empty, but the exact opposite happened, it filled up. More and more people came, and waited for the last people to drag themselves across the finish line.
It was a beautiful day. A day that reminded me of what amazing things humans can accomplish. It was a day where our capacity to love shined bright. It was a wonderful example of support, and encouragement.