|Picture from Oakley sunglasses webpage|
It comes round again and my Facebook page is awash with friends and pros posting pictures .there is the usual banter about who will win, the many lottery winners and legacy winners and the celebrity invites .Ultimately I tend not to buy into these issues . It is about the individual experience and the friends who are racing there. The many sacrifices made to get there which I can appreciate. It isn't golf .
Also this year is the first race with the new owners of WTC , Wanda , the big Chinese Conglomerate. There was an interesting piece by Brett Sutton ( Prediction for Kona ) There is the campaign for equal places for men and women pros and the issue of the starts. It is the ultimate race and the race that started all others. In its simplicity of how the race came about , it has now become a juggernaut of sports business. Good or bad , the one issue that sadly has not been addressed as Brett alludes to is how poorly the professionals are paid in prize money . There is no organized voice although the new professionals association is a reincarnation of earlier such groups. Will the new owners possibly have deeper pockets and not be so motivated to squeeze every ounce of profit out of the sport .Hopefully they will see the wisdom in a group of professionals earning a decent living in the sport and being the core of the value of Ironman racing .
Whilst the age groupers race for the challenge and the elite few for a spot , it is the professionals who are at the pointy end , pushing the human body and mind and create those enduring visions of what we as a human race can do when we put our minds to it .It is the metaphor of how we all want to live our lives , thats what attracts me to push myself because I know I if I can do it , then in life I know I can put my mind to anything . I missed the early years when the sport was a peripheral crazy persons activity but the core of Ironman racing was pure. It is not so clear today , there is more show and less of the turn up and race and enjoy yourself .
Whoever wins there will be great stories . As I complete another week of training , I know what I started nearly 9 years ago which was to finish an Ironman .That was the dream. Then getting a lottery spot and now a legacy spot . The desire waxes and wains after many campaigns. The body tires and there is a little of the magic that is lost in the modern day Ironman race . Yes everything is run to clockwork and the atmosphere is great . It just misses a little of that small town atmosphere money just can't buy anymore.