The Ironman Triathlon Myth

There is always a way to reach the Ironman Triathlon finish line.

Many people are touched by the mystical call of the Iron Gods who challenge them to try and reach that distant finish line.

Once you are “Ironstruck” it just won’t let go but you may feel there are insurmountable obstacles in your way that are preventing you from living your Ironman dream.


The Ironman has become so big around the world that there is almost an over-abundance of high tech gear, coaching programs, diets and many other “essentials” that you apparently need before you can even consider becoming an Ironman.

If it is within your means it can be a real advantage to have access to everything that is available to triathletes today and by all means you should make the most of it.

It is truly remarkable how far the sport has come and how it has captured the imagination of people all over the world.
Triathletes at triathlon swim start
It is mind-boggling just how fast triathlon training technology is evolving.

Unfortunately many people can’t afford to take advantage of all that is available to them.

As great as it is to have all these advantages, it is an Ironman Triathlon myth that the only way you will ever reach the Ironman finish line is to have the best of gear, top-of-the-line coaching, and the perfect place to train.

Many people give up on their Ironman dream because they feel it is simply beyond them financially. Or perhaps they live in a part of the world that is not that great for triathlon training.

None of that matters if you want it bad enough and you believe in yourself.

I would take one person with heart, courage, self-belief, and desire to do something remarkably special over all the other apparent “essentials” that overwhelms today’s new triathletes.

The whispered challenge of the Iron Gods that swirl in the hot winds of the Queen K. Highway near Kona….”Come…Come show us what you are made of” does not ever mention a $6000 tricked out triathlon bike as part of the deal.

ironman triathlon bike course

The Queen K. Highway heading to Kona

It doesn’t really matter what amazing innovations you have at your disposal on Ironman day. There will be a point in the race where it simply won’t matter and all you will have left to propel you to the finish line is the resolve, courage, and determination you are about to discover you have within.

Many people have no idea how amazing they truly are until they find themselves facing the abyss out on the Ironman Marathon course. That moment in time when it would be so easy to say “I have nothing left. I can’t go on”.

Yet, they do. Many do go on.

When people reach the Ironman Triathlon finish line for the first time they are over-awed by what just happened and how at that moment in time they had become more than they ever thought possible.

All the struggle, all the self-doubt, all the sacrifice, and all the pain that they endured to reach the Ironman finish line magically disappears and is replaced by a euphoria and a sense of accomplishment that will stay with them forever once they feel that finisher medal around their neck.

There is always a way to get there.


The early days of the Ironman were truly special. In 1984 I had the opportunity to come across many amazing people and the memory of a few of them in particular have always stayed with me.

I met a husband and wife who virtually lived on a boat at the time and he had a dream of being an Ironman and like many people back then had never been in a triathlon.

The only place he had to train was on board the boat. He had an an exercise bike and a treadmill on the deck. He would do his swim training whenever they docked somewhere for a few days.

He had no coach or high tech gear. He had no training books, special diets, or endless miles of highway to train on. All he had was a dream.

He did Ironman Hawaii 1984 in just over 13 hours.

Then there was this girl I will never forget. She weighed all of 105 pounds soaking wet.

I was just getting into a taxi after arriving at Kona Airport when I first saw her. All she came to the toughest race in the world with was an old beat up bike, a back-pack and a look of determination that made her truly special.

She called out “Will anyone share a taxi to Kona!” Of course someone did. That’s just the way it was. I would not be surprised at all if she slept on the beach and although I don’t know for sure, I’m somehow certain she crossed the finish line on Ali’i Drive and became an Ironman.

Her demeanor suggested that she would not settle for less.


So many people have defied the odds and have found themselves part of the amazing family of Ironman Triathlon finishers.

That family has grown from a handful of Ironman trail-blazers in the late 1970’s to thousands of people around the world who have successfully found a way to reach the Ironman finish line.

So is it within you?

You bet it is.

Do you need tons of money?

Of course not.

What you really need is the entry free, a $300 used road bike that is well-maintained and fits you, a rented wetsuit, a swimsuit, a pair of goggles, a pair of runners that are well broken in , a bike helmet, a pair of $10 sunglasses, a pair of bike shorts, and something comfortable to run in.

If you have all of that and a dream that just won’t let go you have all you need to become an Ironman.

If anyone tries to tell you different, it’s a myth.

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