Ironman Triathlons

The distance may seem daunting: a 3.8km swim, 180km ride, and a full marathon (42.2km) – all completed within 17 hours (sometimes less). The title ‘Ironman’ sounds almost super-human, like the Marvel Comics character.

I was drawn to this sport in 2003 (through the influence of my coach), when I took a year to train for my first marathon. In 2006, I completed three such triathlons. To date, I have completed 19 Ironman triathlons, with one disqualification (not that I could not complete it though).

I love the challenge of training for Ironman triathlons, and the race itself is an evaluation and validation of my preparation. It directs me to be organised, purposeful, and efficient, as my completion presents itself as a larger goal.

The Ironman mantra, from co-founder Cmdr. Jim Collins is: ‘Swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles, and then run a full marathon – Brag for life!’ is a tempting one. My coach, Craig Holland says it just as well: ‘The pain is temporary, but the memories are endless.

I have just earned an entry to the sold-out Challenge Roth – one of the fastest 226km courses in the world – and one on my Bucket List. I am now focused on building up my fitness, alongside my preparation for a personal best time in my second Boston Marathon.

As a metaphor for life, the Ironman lifestyle makes sense. It involves discipline, focus, clear goals, determination, patience, persistence, and many other values of leadership. A no-nonsense approach to training for it ensures a heightened chance of completing it within the cutoff time.

Resting on my laurels is not useful, so after my last celebration of my completion, I set my sights on new targets. Each decision of a registered race hinges on challenge factors like weather conditions, heat/cold, winds, elevation, location, and field of competition. It is a demanding but rewarding sport.

I hope you can enjoy such rewarding and challenging experiences in your future.


Photo-credit: ShutterSpeed

Published by EnricoVarella

Enrico is a international leadership consultant who has trained and consulted with supervisors and managers in 20 countries over 27 years. A professional of myriad interests, he enjoys learning, applying new ideas, researching, and sharing. His complementary roles include Public Volunteer, Public Speaker, Gamification Facilitator, Playwright, Sports-Coach, and Magician. He is a 23-time Ironman triathlon finisher, and has completed the Ironman World Championships in Kona, and 3 X Boston Marathon. He enjoys the occasional fermented brews with friends, comedy (no joke is too lame or corny), and aspires for low body-fat. He is still a Work-In-Progress, chipping away at the unwanted pieces from the block of stone.

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