Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's in a Name?

The other night there was a show on television about the Mont Tremblant Ironman 70.3.

First of all, I was a little confused by the name as I had never seen Ironman 70.3 before. I had seen Ironman and I had seen Half-Ironman. I had seen 70.3 and 140.6 and I knew that the first represented the distance covered (in miles) for a Half-Ironman and the second represented the Ironman.

An Ironman is an Ironman just like a marathon is a marathon. It's a set distance, a predetermined race and when someone says they ran a marathon or did an Ironman, there should be no question about what they actually did.

So when I read Ironman 70.3 I wasn't sure what exactly the distance was. I soon discovered that it was a Half-Ironman, no small feat in itself mind you, not an Ironman.

I did do some online checking and an "Ironman 70.3" is apparently the same as saying a Half-Ironman but it feels a little different. Perhaps because not everyone knows what the 70.3 is. They will just see "Ironman". It's kinda like saying that I completed a marathon 21.1 isn't it?

Anyway, that's not actually the point of the story. The point of the story was the story itself. The show talked about the elite athletes and it followed them along the course as they competed at mind-boggling speeds. But it also followed some other folks. The regular folks. The ones who take hours and hours and hours to finish. Folks who, three years prior, weighed over 300 pounds and freely admit that they didn't do any exercise. Folks who had decided to get in shape, learn to run and progressed from there.

I saw these people training and I saw them competing and I saw them cross the Half-Ironman finish line.  And I thought to myself - bloody hell, good for them.

Olympic distance triathlons are just about half the distance of a Half-Ironman. Not quite but close enough for me to know that doing twice what I just did is not for the faint of heart. It's also not something that the average person can just wing. It takes a huge amount of training, commitment and guts to get to the start line of a Half-Ironman, let alone cross the finish line.

So yes indeed. Bloody hell, good for them.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the half-iron/long-course/70.3 distance. It's long enough to keep me occupied for a while, yet short enough that I can do one in the middle of the season without wrecking the rest of the year.

    What's in a name? The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) has a trademark on "Ironman," and they pretty ruthlessly enforce it. In fact, they go as far as publicly pretending that none of those non-branded events exist. They don't recognize course records at non-branded events, and they don't count toward the points pros need to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

    Because there are more half-ironman-distance races out there than those offered by WTC, that helps explain some of the confusing terminology. It was made a bit more confusing by the WTC itself who was late to the half-ironman scene. They wanted something they could brand but they didn't want to call it a "Half Ironman," because (as I understand the story) they felt that didn't make it sound as difficult as it is. Eventually they settled on "Ironman 70.3" as the name for all of their races.

    And the Mont Tremblant 70.3 and the Muskoka one are on my list. They both look beautiful.