2.4 miles to swim
112 miles to bike
and 26.2 miles to run...

all in a days work for a


Meet the three athletes who went to Kona, Hawaii for the first time to face
the Hawaiin Ironman Triathalon
Andrew Block

In his own words:

I was born in 1969 in Edison, NJ.  I grew up playing baseball, soccer, and hockey --  the usual sports. At the age of 12 I started running with the local High School Cross Country team for some reason I do not remember and was hooked on the sport. I continued running till I was in High School by which time I had stopped playing baseball and had taken up cycling which led to me riding for a short time in Europe as a semi-pro while still obtaining a BS in Journalism at the University of Northern Colorado in 1991. Upon graduation I landing a Ad Sales job in the Cycling Industry for a Start Up bicycling magazine. After a year in Newport, RI where the investor disappeared with the money,  I went back to Colorado with only my bikes, car and a few dollars. I quickly landed a Job at a cycling clothing company and continued to race my bike and enjoy the "cycling" lifestyle.
 In the meantime my former boss put the magazine back together under the publishers of Surfer and I was told to move to California to finish the original magazine concept/ ad sales. Unfortunately after only a few issues I clashed with a different department head and left the magazine business for the nutrition industry where I sold a sports drink to the cyclists/ bike dealers. Again after some time the company decided to downgrade the importance of my product line and I left. This time it would under my terms.

I became an Independent Sales rep for cycling related products. I visited with dealers, rode my bike and had fun. Soon though I discovered that San Diego was way cooler than Orange County and moved south. While still being a sales rep I came up with the notion that cycling socks were for the most part too rough and could be designed better. Little did I know that almost 8 years later I would be doing just socks and have my own company!   

While all this was going on…. my new friends in San Diego were all triathletes and when in Rome. Well here were guys that I could outride, could at least keep up on the once- in-while runs I was invited too and of course I grew up being a lifeguard so I could swim. AND YES I did see the infamous Julie Moss crawl so long ago. But triathlon as it was to me was ok. I thought it was cool but not today thanks very much. And soon I did want to do a triathlon and not a short one but a long one, an Ironman. At the same time I met my now wife so in the short course of 1 year, I proposed, did my first 2 triathlons (1 half Ironman and 1 full Ironman), bought a house, got married and increased my business a great deal. I thought those races would be it. Life was going back to cycling and my wife. The lure of another Ironman came calling though as Ironman California was only 15 minutes from my house. I had to do another one. I was driven to go better.
These are the first, last and most famous words from any Ironman competitor as it gets them in the sport, a divorce and they will die doing it for it is so great and hard to stop. I ended up doing more Ironmans over the course of the next 3 years culminating with 2002 being my banner year with a PR at Ironman Austria and going to Kona where I had an ok day. And yet the past 3 years I have told my wife I’ll quit after 1, than when your pregnant, than we he is born, than after he walks, than, than , than…maybe never. I know this year could be it for a little while as she is pregnant again and I can not see how I could train proper and be a home for my kids.

Something about Ironman drives me. Maybe the fact that it's the one thing that no one else can decide/ add to my individual performance, or the hanging out with the guys training (and girls), or the outdoor enjoyment. I really can’t say. I did a half Ironman yesterday and you think sometimes why and yet you keep going. When you finish you only think about to how to improve and what could be changed. Not - I am done with this. Maybe Ironman is the eternal "do over" in life. A crappy start can finish great and visa versa. You’re working on it. Kind of like life. You never know so you wake up and try again. So you keep making promises that your best friend and who happens to be your wife knows you can’t keep and she still supports you all the way. As long your home by 6 pm and don't complain when her family is over and always have the most time for your son, its all good. And that me.


In her own words:

I am a 33- year old female, actually turned 33 the day after my first Ironman. What an awesome gift.

I began competing in Triathlons about 7 years ago. My best friend (Maggi) encouraged me to do so since I continued to suffer from stress fractures from running.  I only considered completing an Ironman distance race when I decided that I would compete no longer and make this my last event.  However, last year, my best friend called me and told me a large group of friends from my hometown, Memphis, would be going to Coeur d'Alene and I should join them there. After much consideration as to how I would ever fit in the time to train, I signed up.

My fears for training for an Ironman:
I was (and still am) a Pharmaceutical Representative for Takeda Pharmaceuticals working 40 hours per week. I was (and still am) completing my Masters in Business, which requires me to attend class and team meetings for 8 hours per week as well as 2 to 3 hours per week of homework. I also am a spin instructor at 24 Hour Fitness one night per week. Lastly, I decided if I were going to complete an Ironman event, I would do so for a cause. So, I joined Concerned Athletes to fundraise for Challenged Athletes Foundation. So during everything else, I hosted two fundraisers, which raised $2500 for CAF. 

Knowing I had to have a strict workout schedule, I hired San Diego X Training Coach, Sergio Borges to build me a program that allowed me to train before and after work and long on the weekends. I used many vacation days in order to complete mid week- long rides as well towards the end of my training.

I went into the training with the mentality that I only wanted to finish the race. I trained hard and improved, yet the respect that I have for this distance kept me on track to start the race with the goal only to finish it and hopefully do so in 12 to 12.5 hours.

Race day was challenging, but I could not believe how much of a thrill it was to be out there actually competing with 1300+ people to make a dream come true. During my most challenging moments on the bike I had three things with me:

1. A verse from my best friend taped to my bike that I read over and over,
2. An internal voice telling me to put all my heart into this race, especially since I knew Maggi (my best friend) would as well, and
3. A letter my coach had written me encouraging me that I was ready for this day.

I also knew that at the finish line would be my best friend in the world waiting for me to come in. This would be the best moment (up to this point) in my life.

As it turned out, the run was better than I expected. I knew I felt good (most of the time), so I might finish better than I had hoped. But, to keep me from going to hard, I refused to look at my watch to see where I was on time during the race. Not until mile 25 did I look and realize that I could exceed my goal. I began to run harder and realized that I had conserved a little too much too long.

I was elated to finish in 11:34:45! Maggi had a great swim (1:03) and ride (5:47), but due to the extreme heat could not eat on the run.  So, much to my surprise, instead of her waiting for me, I was able wait for her and hang her first ever Ironman metal around her neck.  I received a phone call from my coach the minute I crossed the line to let me know I was fifth in my age group and might have a chance to go to Kona!  Yet, one day later, the chance was gone due to the penalty that I received, unjustly I must add, on the bike.

As I am sure it is almost every Ironman's dream to do, I actually thought for 16 hours that I might be in Kona in October running the course so many of my hero's (for lack of better terms) have before. But, one more phone call on Monday (from My Challenged Athlete's Coach) told me I had a penalty, but get to the Kona roll down to see if they would roll down 7 slots. They did not. So, I went to challenge the penalty, first time doing this as well since I had never had one, but I was too late.

Lessons Learned from my First Ironman:

1. Race your own race
2. Eat
3. Pace yourself because you don't know what the day will bring
4. Drink
5. Wait for your friends as the finish line no matter how tired you are, this is a moment that you will never forget
6. Eat and Drink
7. Challenge a penalty the minute you find out your received it


In his own words:

I'm 35 years old and was born, raised, and currently live right outside Washington, DC in Falls Church, Va. I graduated from West Virginia University where I majored in business. After graduating, I went into the restaurant business, and I currently own a successful airline catering company that caters about 100 planes a day out of Reagan National Airport.

Growing up, I was always very athletic and coordinated, but like most people, not good enough to take any one sport that serious enough to take it to the next level. But I always kept in pretty good shape and played a variety of recreational level sports. Looking back, it's not hard to pinpoint when my casual participation in sports turned into a complete immersion into endurance events because it was relatively recent. Unlike most people that gradually work up to a higher level, I have a tendency, and quite a reputation for jumping right into the hardest level events without much preparation.
My first running race, with two and a half months training, was the 1997 Marine Corp Marathon which I finished in a respectable 3:50 for a first timer.  In my first triathlon, I completed the 1999 Florida Ironman in 13:47, with 4 months of training. My first hike was a successful summit of Mt. Rainier in 2002. In between these events, I ran my second running race, the DC Marathon in 3:37. In 2001, I also competed in the Bataan Memorial Death March. This race is marathon length but with some extreme features added in. It's held in the Nevada high desert, with hot temperatures at high altitude, and I entered the category that required me to carry a loaded 35 lb. pack on my back. I finished third out of all civilians... not bad for never carrying a pack before. This past January, I flew to Wolverhapton, England where I competed in a bizarre and extreme event called the Tough Guy Race. It required a trail run of about ten miles and then a long obstacle course that consisted of things such as climbing 40 foot obstacles, rope swings, deep mud traverses, barb wire crawls, and swimming in 40 degree water....quite a day. This past spring, with a long training run of 29 miles under my belt, I ran my first ultra marathon by completing the Old Dominion 50 Mile Run in 9:34,
I'm not certain what drives me to push myself to the limits of physical endurance and the edge of mental toughness. It's something in me that wants the challenge, wants to see if I can really go further than I think my body is capable of. I've always believed that only the things you really have to work for in life are worth it. Most people, including my family and friends, although they support me, think I'm a bit crazy. I think that challenging myself with these events makes me feel more alive and makes life that much more rich and exciting. It's that feeling of the unknown, "can you do it" that enables a person to find out what really inside them. Most people don't have any idea what's inside them, but I do.
I was raised with a very strong catholic upbringing, in a very close knit family. I'm by no means an angel, but my faith does play a large part in my life and has a lot to do with my inner strength. I thank God every day that I'm happy, healthy, and able to do all that I do.
My father is another motivating factor for me. He worked for everything he's gotten in life. He is a W.W.II veteran, Silver Star recipient, POW, and just plain hero. Just when I begin to think I'm doing something exceptional, I remind myself of his war stories and that puts everything in perspective and reminds me what real sacrifice is all about. There are many inspirational moments I remember from all my events, but one moment stands head and shoulders above the rest. It was during the Bataan Death March which commemorates W.W.II veterans from the real Death March where thousands lost their lives. I was
at the most brutal section they call the sand pit. It's an up hill section at mile 22, in the blazing sun, in deep sand. It was there that I was passing a marine.  On the back of my pack, I had written a tribute to my father that read, "in honor of Lieutenant George Fumich, W.W.II POW, my father" and as I passed the marine, he yelled out "hey sir, thank your father for me." That meant so much to me and I'll never forget it. I didn't even turn around. I just said "thank you, I will" and took off running.
This race means so much, that for the first time I'm having to switch my priority list from work first, party and have fun second, and train last ... to train hard first, work second, and don't do much anything else. The Hawaii Ironman is the pinnacle of endurance sport achievement. I've been watching and have been fascinated by it for as long as I can remember, always dreaming of getting a chance to try it. Not many people can say they've done it, and I want to be one of those who can say they have. If I could just bottle up that feeling of crossing that line after 140 miles of sweat, pain, exhilaration, despair and a million other emotions, and give everyone a taste, they would understand why.

Now meet the PROs who helped guide these athletes on their journey...
their journey... to IRONMAN
Wendy Ingraham

While some have used words like "Dynamic, intelligent, articulate, talented and attractive" to describe Wendy Ingraham, her nickname, "Wingnut", is most descriptive. Ten minutes with Wendy will surely solve the mystery of her nickname.

On the racecourse, Wendy is no nickel piece of hardware, but a hell of a triathlete whose rise to the top of the sport was confirmed by her Ironman Triathlon \Australia Championship. This win culminated a steady progression of successes including top five finishes in other marquee, ultra-distance races -- Ironman\Hawaii, Ironman\Japan and Nice International. Wendy's 1995 Ironman Australia win was the first Ironman win for an American woman in since 1993.

When she first burst on the triathlon scene in 1991, many so-called experts wrote Wendy off as "just a swimmer," who might lead races but won't win races. With years left in her career, Wendy has proven to be not only a great swimmer who can lead races, but also a great triathlete that can win major championships.

Career Highlights:
* Champion 1995 Ironman Triathlon\Australia
* 2nd Place 1996 & 97 Ironman Australia
* 4th Place 1994 Ironman Triathlon World Championships
* 4th Place 1993 & 91 Nice International Triathlon
* 5th Place 1993 & 95 Ironman World Championships
* Winner 1994 Fiji International
* Winner 1994 & 95 Pucan International
* Winner 1994 Valdivia Triathlon
* Winner 1994 Tahiti International
* Winner 1994 Singapore Biathlon
* Winner 1989 Ironman Brazil
* 2nd Place 1994 Ironman Japan
* 2nd Place 1996 Ironman Australia
* 2nd Place 1996 Fiji International Triathlon
* 3rd Place 1994 Laguna Phuket Triathlon

Age: 31

Residence: Walnut Creek, CA
Education: Michigan State University

Chris Legh

* Five-Time Australian National Champion Long & Ironman Triathlon Championships (1995 to 1999)

* Winner German Half-Ironman Triathlon Championship (1997 and 1998)

*Winner MET-Rx Half-Ironman (1998)

*Winner Pucon International Triathlon, Chile (1999)

*Winner top 15 Sprint Triathlon, Chile (1999)

*Second Place 1998 and 1999 Ironman Triathlon, Australia

*Second Place 1999 Ironman Triathlon, Brazil

In 1997 Chris Legh introduced himself to triathlon's top echelon with a third-place finish at Ironman Australia. He clocked the fastest time ever for an Australian and was preceded over the finish line by only the world's top two Ironman competitors. It's been said that Legh's performance encompassed "a stubborn disregard for the elements, an unbridled determination and a triumph of the mind over body." The same year, Legh again tried to prove that the mind is stronger than the body at the 1997 Hawaii Ironman World Championships. After falling off the pace of the cycling segment by more than six minutes due to vomiting, he eventually caught up with the leader and was in strong second place until dehydration took its toll. He collapsed 100 meters from the finish line and was taken off the course by stretcher.

The following year Legh far outpaced Ironman champ Thomas Hellreigel and World Triathalon champion Spenser Smith at the half-Ironman distance, serving notice that he can, and will, win Ironman Hawaii. At Ironman Australia 1998, in the most exciting race in Ironman history, Legh raced shoulder to shoulder with Ironman World Champion Peter Reid for 140 miles, losing a sprint in the last 25 meters. 

.... and local Kona Triathlete and Model Lokelani McMichael showed our athletes
the sights and sounds of the island, offering her own perspective and respect for the race


From Extra TV:

This 24-year-old Hawaiian surfer is making a splash as a model! She's already made the cover of Esquire magazine and we caught up with her posing for FHM in an ultra sexy swimsuit layout. But if you think all she has to offer is a hot body and pretty face, think again.   For Loke, modeling is really just a side gig. This pretty woman is really an ironman. She says, "Triathlons are really a lifestyle for me. That in itself is really addicting."

Consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26-mile marathon, most people wouldn't even attempt to enter Hawaii's Ironman Triathalon once. Well, hold on to your bike helmets, Loke's completed it a staggering six years in a row!

She says, "I try to take that race one step at a time, otherwise I'm overwhelmed!"

To prepare for the annual race, Loke trains about 25 hours a week. Which doesn't leave too much free time for her modeling career. But Loke says that's ok, while being a fashion plate is great, she admits modeling is just how she pays the rent.

She says, "As long as it can help me maintain this lifestyle of what I love, the triathlon, than wow! That's the world. That's the greatest thing."

The Royal Kona Resort for
Wendy and Chris

The Kona Beach House for
Kimber, Frank, and Andrew

The Ironman Triathalon World Championship took place on October 18, 2003

How did our amateurs do?

Kimber had to go to the medical tent 2 different times for IVs, yet still managed to finish in 12 hours, 13 minutes.

Frank crossed the finish line at 11 Hours and 51 minutes, after thinking it was all over for him at mile 2 during the run.

Andrew came in at just 10 Hours and 37 minutes.

2.4 Miles of Swimming
112 Miles of Biking
26.2 Miles of Running

What did you do today?