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Becoming An Ironman The Hard Way

One of the amazing stories of Ironman Coeur d'Alene occurred in the final hours as Marsha Ward of Atlanta (below right), Ga., struggled to finish the last 5 miles of the marathon part of the triathlon. On the Ironman Coeur d'Alene Facebook wall, Marsha decribes how volunteer Kathy Chalich of Spokane (below left) made the difference:

I was one of the final finishers of this year's IMCDA. What an amazing day and experience--one of transformation and inspriration. When my back seized up on the run course and I could not walk or run upright, I had to transform my goal to just crossing the finish line in time. When I thought I couldn't go any further at mile 21, Kathy Chalich, one of the amazing volunteers, took over and told me I was going to be an Ironman. We walked through 2 aid stations before she passed me to the Staszewska mother and daughter who walked another mile with me--and I met the entire family--before Kathy came back to see me to the finish line personally. The Staszewskas promised to see me at the finish line and Kathy willed me on as time was winding down. At the last aid station Kathy conscripted Rob Randall, another volunteer extraordinaire, who went the last 1.5 miles with us. Rob held me on one side, while Kathy had the other as we picked up the pace to cover the distance in less than 20 minutes. My back hurt, but the 3 of us ran together--me doubled over with an increasingly seized up back. More here.

DFO: Kathy Chalich was named IronmanCDA volunteer of the year for coming to Ward's aid.

Question: Are you inspired enough to participate next year -- as an athlete or a volunteer?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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