Sunday morning we left the house around 8:30am to spectate at the Ironman 70.3 Racine. We made good timing, until we turned off the interstate. We ran into the bike route, which caused a delay. Nick helped to navigate us, switching between viewing the race course and looking at a map to found a route to get us to the transition area of the race without causing too much delay. We finally parked around 10am.
As we walked toward the finish line, we heard the crowd cheering for the winner and reigning champion, Lionel Sanders. A few minutes later, Matt Chrabot clinched second place, followed quickly by Andrew Starykowicz.
As we waited for the leading women to arrive, we began chatting with a fellow next to us named Brent. He told us he was supporting a friend in the race, who was still on the bike, so Brent was watching the pros until his friend made it to the run. Turns out that Brent was supporting Fireman Rob who, to inspire others, runs the race dressed in full fire fighter gear. It was a pleasure talking to Brent and finding out more about Fireman Rob. Interestingly, he will be racing with us in August at Ironman 70.3 Steelhead.
The first female, Heather Wurtele crossed the finish line in 4:12:18. A little over four minutes later Angela Anaeth took 2nd, followed by Jackie Hering.
After watching several of the top finishers come through, we decided to walk around the course a little bit. Because the finish line and transition areas were in a park near the beach, the scenery was great and there was plenty of open space for people to wander as well as shade to find reprieve from the sun.
The run course began along the beach of Lake Michigan, making a double out and back loop. It was nice to being near the finish line, but still able to cheer on the athletes beginning their run.
Nick and I cheered as the athletes passed us by. There was plenty of motivation provided by the crowd along the way.
We saw PJ and his partner Dennis Vanderheiden, founder of Athletes in Tandem, a non-profit organization that provides a partner and equipment to athletes with a disability who are unable to compete on their own. Per their Facebook page, this was Dennis and PJ’s first half-Ironman race. Not too far behind them, I spotted Fireman Rob as he and a fellow athlete encouraged one another.
It’s truly amazing to watch these athletes as they race towards the finish line. All, from the pros to the average person, are so inspiring. Each individual has their own story of why they tri. I’m blessed to have witnessed these individuals and give them a little bit of encouragement along their journey.