Once again it's time to welcome the throngs of athletes, fans, families and friends to Lake Placid's annual Ironman triathlon.
Hopefully, everyone enjoys their stay here - and most of all - all the athletes who take part in the Ironman successfully complete this ultimate test of endurance.
Regardless if you're a fan of the Ironman triathlon or not, one thing is certain. It is a testament as to an individual's will to compete - in this case, against oneself and the race course.
There are some who question the rationale as to why one would go through such a grueling task. Each
athlete has different reasons for taking part in the race, but each must complete the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike course and a 26.2 mile run. Some athletes may finish the course without feeling too strained. But there is a complete spectrum of pros to those who just want to finish the race. There are some racers who are in total agony after finishing the race - but yet they come back every year.
No, these people are not just a "glutton for
punishment." They simply enjoy knowing they have what it takes.
Some of the athletes who push themselves throughout the year training, finish the course without feeling they have taken a toll on their bodies. Others feel the strain, and along the course, their bodies tell them to stop, but their minds push them on.
That's where the support of fans - or just onlookers who live along the race course - play such a pivotal role. Thousands of these spectatators may not realize the impact they have on some of these athletes when the clap and yell such phrases as "You can do it," "Go man" and Good job!" Yes, these are the true unseen forces at work during Ironman.
The will to endure and persevere - it is a life lesson to have the urge to quit, but still press on - is a
driving force for Ironmen.
Some athletes will finish the course and collapse. Their bodies will convulse and stiffen in the agony of having completed a task that most of us could not do - although the argument can be made that anyone can do anything they set their minds to do.
So for those who line the street during Ironman -whether it be during the swim, along the bike course, or along Main Street between the hours of 11 p.m. and midnight when the last competitors are running, or limping, down the home stretch - don't wonder why they are doing the Ironman. Be in awe of those who finish the race. Also take a moment to praise the DNF (Did Not Finish) category, for they at least gave it a try.
And while you're in town Ironmen and women,
supporters and fans - please make it known just how much you enjoy being in Lake Placid for Ironman.
Good luck to all the athletes who are taking part in this year's triathlon. As you pass the Lake Placid News office on Sentinel Road, know that you are being cheered on - especially that "big hill" just before the home stretch brings you into the Olympic Oval. You will finish.
You can do it!