On Sunday the 9th annual Ironman South Africa was held in Port Elizabet, it was also my birthday and I could not think of a better way to celebrate than to be there supporting all the amazing athletes, which is why I am struggling with the fact that somebody would target an event like the Boston Marathon.
I think that this has shocked me because it is “so close to home”. Not obviously in a geographical way, but the fact that it is something so similar to an event that I would attend and that it is something that I would take Little OL to. I knew people there.
My blog post about Ironman South Africa was going to be very different had I written it yesterday….
Sport is something I love, sporting events are something I love. I see them as places of hope, and mutual support and camaraderie. It is a lifestyle that I want Little OL to grow up knowing and want to actively encourage. I want it to be a way of life for her as she grows up, so on Sunday I took her with to watch Ironman SA. We were there from before the start, watching the sun come up, watching the athletes all line up on the beach. We were there for the cannon and the helicopters and the vibe. We stayed there all day. We watched them swim, and then cycle and then run. We were there when the lead guys (and girls) finished and we were there as the sun was setting (and then we had to head home). We cheered, we screamed and we encouraged.
Some of us even slept………
I love this event. There are people that take part that you think would not even be able to walk up a flight of stairs, never mind swim 3.8km, cycle 180km and then run a marathon – 42.2km. They are not sporty. This is a challenge, a goal and a life changing event. There are people of all sizes, and colours and shape and ethnicity. All doing it together and being encouraged equally. They struggle, they have moments where they swear they are not going to make it, but most do. They show the courage, grit and determination necessary.
Ironman and many other sporting events bring out the best in people. And in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon I hope that this is remembered. My heart go out to those who lost loved ones, to the father who, while running a marathon lost his 8 year old son that was waiting for him at the finish line and to the injured.
On my next run I will be thinking of all these people.
Edited: Latest newspaper reports say that the father of the 8 year old, Martin Richard was not running, but that the whole family was spectating. His mom is in serious condition with a brain injury and his sister has lost a limb. What ever the story my heart goes out to this entire family and the other families affected by this act of cowardice.