Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ironman Korea - Defining the Word "Determination"

This is part 2 of my Ironman Korea adventure, read part 1 first if you haven't already.

Ahdont guessed it rightly, after the swim, I did not sit still. But this piece is not about me, but about those brave men and women out there facing up the Ironman challenge.
The SCBHK Team

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While I was swimming William was overcoming the 180km bike trail with all the other Ironmans out there, the course is tremendously tough, after a relatively flat 80km, they had to go uphill on a volcano for 10km non-stop. The alternating downpour and sunshine conjured up a hot and humid condition. Eventually William got pass the worse volcano section but failed to meet the cut off time for 150km. Though he had been fighting hard for 8.5 hours and what a brave fight it has been! After the bike cut off, Alice took off for her first Marathon, she had been training hard for this big day and no doubt we would see her fly pass throughout the course. She started in daylight and came back in the dark, finishing her first marathon in 4hrs15mins. Another fine performance.
The Winning Characters
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While waiting for William to return, we stayed in the stadium plaza and watched the two leading pros Scott Green (Australian) and Hubert Hammerl (Austria) coming back from the bike trail and moved into the bike/run transition, it was at this point I found out what this sport is about. They had raced back to back for 4hrs45mins and moved into the changing tent within 20 secs of each other, 1.5 mins there were out again chasing each other on the marathon (Scott Green eventually completed the marathon in 3:22 and became the champion!). What a tremendous fighting spirit they have displayed. This is what an Ironman is about, keep tapping and tapping into your reserve and you will find an infinite supply.
Defining the Meaning of "Determination"
After Alice had taken off and after William had returned from the bike section, I took William's racing bib and jumped onto the marathon course. I planned to run 28km and experience what was out there and I found the most moving picture I have seen in all the races I have been to. I cannot stress more of my admiration to these people. All the athletes were fighting through the torturing marathon course, almost half of them have reduced to walking, others were jogging in pain and few were lying on the side of the road, recovering from cramps or heat exhaustion. No doubt they were shattered, but they persevered. Everyone of them were defining the word "determination" in front of my very eyes.
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I saw Ho Chak, the representative of Hong Kong in the Nations Challenge, he had a bike crash earlier today and has sprung his ankle, yet he did not give in and was walking the marathon in extreme pain. I also met Gregory Burn, a para-atheletes racing with a "hand bike" for 180km and now pushing forward on a "wheelchair". He gave an "inspirational" talk to us the day before but the talk was nothing compare to the inspirational act he was achieving.
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Occasionally an athlete will chase up on me and used me as a pace marker, not knowing that my legs were fresh. I would stick my head up and ran in a steady speed, pushing my friend forward for a few extra miles. Solemnly I said to myself, "My friend, I had no right to be out here trotting on your race course, but if I may be your boosters in this few miles, that will make me proud for being here today."

16 comments:

alex said...

I was looking at some of your pics, those were some big waves out there

ahdont said...

i cried.

Gabs Lau said...

Thank guys for your support, and good luck for Alex in the Tri, yeah I will think about doing 2008 Lake Placid Ironman, I think I have to do one in my life.

anita said...

Hi Team ,

Proud of you all in S.Korea ..Knowing that 180K Biking & Marathon not the easy race .
Well Done ~~ Amazing race !

Anita ^V^

Anonymous said...

Hi Gabriel,

Congratulations for completing the race. Just in case you are interested this is the link to Greg Burns Ironman writeup
http://gbatjourney.blogspot.com/

Gabs Lau said...

Hi Greg & Angie, such an honour that you have visted my site. Congradulation to Greg for completing the race. Seeing you relentlessly pushing uphills on the marathon course was a really moving moment for me. I will never cease to find more challenge to me after meeting you.

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