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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?

Hoffman, Wurtele Set Course Records

Ben Hoffman's girlfriend Kelsey, rushes to embrace him after he won the 2013 Coeur d'Alene Ironman triathlon with a course record time of 8:17:31 on Sunday in Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

Ben Hoffman and Heather Wurtele have special connections to Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Hoffman attended the University of Montana and the first Ironman he watched was when Polson’s Matt Seeley took second in the Lake City. Wurtele’s first Ironman race and first Ironman victory came in Coeur d’Alene. That made Sunday even more special for the two as they captured professional titles in record times at the 11th annual Ironman Coeur d’Alene. The Boulder, Colo.-based Hoffman took the lead early on the bike and covered the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in 8 hours, 17 minutes and 31 seconds, eclipsing Craig Alexander’s 2011 record by more than 2 minutes. Three-time champion Viktor Zyemtsev was second in 8:26.01/Jim Meehan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Has Ironman Coeur d'Alene inspired you to be more active?

Safer Start Launches 2013 Ironman

Heather Wurtele of canada wins the 2013 Coeur d'Alene Ironman triathlon with a course record time of 9:16:02 on Sunday in Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Tyler Tjomsland)

The mad dash into the lake that heralds the start of Ironman was replaced Sunday by an orderly march into the water. In the Coeur d’Alene debut of a rolling start to the long-distance triathlon, athletes self-seeded on City Beach based on their expected swim times and strolled toward the start line, where their timing chips were activated. It’s the same procedure used for Bloomsday and most road races. It doesn’t make for as dramatic a start, but it’s a safer and less stressful way to get 2,238 men and women into the water for the 2.2-mile Ironman swim, race officials say. In years past, the anxious throng would take the plunge at once, hands and feet pounding the surface and often smacking fellow competitors. Scot Bates, of Southlake, Texas, said he appreciates the new Ironman SwimSmart Initiative, which also debuts at the Ironman in Lake Placid, N.Y., on July 28/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Are you a good swimmer?

Ironman Death Stuns Triathletes

Before the start of Ironman Coeur d'Alene on Sunday, as he stood with more than 2,000 others waiting to plunge into Lake Coeur d'Alene, David Martin met Sean Murphy, pictured. They chatted for a minute and Martin helped the 44-year-old Seattle man zip up his wetsuit in final preparations for their 2.4-mile swim. "We wished each other the best," the 73-year-old Martin said. "And then off we went." Before long, Murphy was pulled from the water, not breathing. CPR on a boat failed to restart his breathing. He was rushed to an ambulance, and taken to Kootenai Medical Center. There, he remained on life support until he died at 1:07 p.m. Tuesday. Beth Clemens, chief deputy coroner with the Kootenai County Coroner's Office, said the cause of death is pending an autopsy at Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office. The death is the first in 10 years of Ironman Coeur d'Alene/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What can be done to make the swim portion of Ironman Coeur d'Alene safer?

Ironman Triathlete Died Tuesday

Officials have announced that a man died early Tuesday afternoon following complications he suffered during the swimming portion of the Ironman triathlon in Coeur d’Alene this weekend. The man has been identified as 44-year-old Sean Murphy from Seattle. Ironman personnel spotted Murphy struggling in Lake Coeur d’Alene about 20 minutes into the race and pulled him out of the water. They tried to resuscitate him at the medical tent, then transferred him to Kootenai Medical Center, according to a statement from the Kootenai County Coroner’s Office. Murphy was maintained on life support until he died at 1:07 p.m. Tuesday, the statement said. An autopsy to determine the cause of death will be performed at the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office/Justin Runquist, SR. More here(Photo from Sean Murphy Facebook page)

Ironman Bike Thief Back In Trouble

In the Some Guys Never Learn category, Meghann Cuniff reports on that guy who stole the high-end bike of a Ironman Coeur d'Alene participant last summer. Seems Justin C. Luce, 32, allegedly swiped a vehicle, crashed it in the Spokane Valley, and fled on foot this morning. Only to be tracked down by a sheriff's helicopter and canine Trax. Meanwhile, Luce faces sentencing in connection with the Ironman Coeur d'Alene bike theft March 26. You can read Meghann's story here.

Ironman CdA Changes Bike Course

Ironman Coeur d'Alene race director Mac Cavasar has confirmed for Huckleberries that the bike leg of the triathlon will be changed this year to run along Highway 95 20 miles south of Coeur d'Alene to Missile Base Road in the Worley area. The Idaho Department of Transportation and Idaho State Police have signed off on the new course, which Cavasar says is safer than the old one. Which ran along Government Way through Hayden and beyond. The triathletes will bike along the northbound lanes of Highway 95, which will be blocked off for vehicular traffic which will be using the northbound lanes as a two-way roadway. The move was necessary this year because Ironman Coeur d'Alene was facing issues with road construction on the old bike course. Also, Cavasar said, he had heard complaints that the old course cut the communities of Coeur d'Alene & Hayden in half. "I've been looking at this for a couple of years," he told Huckleberries. Ironman Coeur d'Alene is now in its 10th year. Cavasar said he is trying to renew the contract for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, which expires this summer, for another five years. You can find a map of the new bike course here. (Dan Pelle SR file photo of 2009 Coeur d'Alene Ironman leg)

Question: Do you prefer the new course to the previous one that caused traffic problems on Government Way?

IM CdA Champ Shares Fave Things

Julie Dibens high fives fans near the finish line of the 2011 Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene Sunday afternoon in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Dibens set a new women's course record of 9:16:40. After her victory in Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Julie shared a few of her favorite things with Triathlete Europe here. (Special to the SR: Bruce Twitchell)


Newspaperman Becomes An Ironman

Following is a report by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News who became an Ironman in Coeur d'Alene last weekend: "I was anything but calm race morning. Amazingly, I actually slept for five hours after dealing with internal issues Saturday (mostly butterflies from the enormous task ahead, and perhaps partly from the big beef and salami sandwich I inhaled). Dealing with an 11th-hour bike problem didn't help. Being with my wife's witty and wise uncle, four-time Ironman Chris, and chatting with amazing friends from my triathlon club, the Desert Sharks, helped ease some race-morning jitters. But as the time to toe the starting line on the beach approached, I couldn't help but thinking: Did I train enough? Can I finish my first marathon after doing the longest bike ride and open-water swim of my life? Will I even make it out of the bitter-cold lake alive? Am I completely nuts?!" Jody's complete story here. (More Main Street photo: Kerri Thoreson)

Question: Can you ever imagine yourself trying to run Ironman Coeur d'Alene?

Aylward: Transformed By Desire

A puddle of sweat covers the concrete floor below Tom Aylward’s indoor training bike. But his trainer, Shawn Burke, doesn’t give Aylward much slack. As soon as the warm-up is complete, Aylward hits the ground for push-ups and squat thrusts, jumps laterally against a resistance band, then pulls almost 300 pounds, arm-over-arm, across the gym with a heavy rope. This pace would not have been possible 18 months ago when Aylward first approached Burke and asked for help training to participate in the Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene. The 62-year-old man was more than 100 pounds overweight and had never biked, swum or run any distances, let alone completed one of the nation’s most challenging endurance races/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: Has the Ironman Coeur d'Alene race inspired you to get fitter?

Mag Spotlights Ironman CdA Winner

Linsey Corbin is congratulated by spectators as she approaches the finish line at Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene with a course record of 9:17.54 Sunday, June 27 in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Now, the women’s champion from Missoula is the subject of an 11-page spread the September/October issue of Inside Triathlon magazine. Entitled “The Hard Way,” it focuses on Corbin’s commitment to live in Missoula and journey to a breakthrough Ironman win in June with a course-record time of 9:17.54 in Coeur d’Alene. More from Missoulian story here. (Spokesman-Review file photo)

Stickman Wows Ironman Triathletes

You can do a coupla things with those floating golf balls that bob westward from the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s floating green during spring winds and storms. Keep them. Or make nice gifts of them, with that swell resort logo on one side and the word “floater” on the other. Or, if you have 850 of them, you can form them into a massive Ironman Coeur d’Alene logo in your yard to inspire the triathletes as they struggle past your home. Stickman and his bride, Walkabout, did that on their little corner of the Ironman course, across from East Tubbs Hill Park. Seems Walkabout, who patrols Tubbs Hill daily looking for litter, collects about 1,000 golf balls from the resort each year/DFO, Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Have you ever played golf at the Coeur d’Alene Resort course?

3rd Place Finisher Loves Ironman CdA

On Sunday, June 27, I raced my fifth Ironman Coeur d’Alene up in beautiful North Idaho. After winning the inaugural race in 2003, I had finished in third place three times (‘05, ‘07, ‘08). After Sunday’s race, I managed to punch a trade-marked stamp of authority on the number THREE up there. Yes, I now have four third-place finishes in CdA. How’s that for consistency? Showing up in Coeur d’Alene for an Ironman at the end of June has become very familiar territory for me. I know when to travel, where to stay, how to spend my final days of preparation: everything. It’s as much of a home course race for me as any Ironman could be, and for that (and many other reasons) CdA is my favorite Ironman outside of Kona/Michael Lovato, of Boulder, Colo. More here. (SR file photo by Jesse Tinsley, of Lovato’s 2003 CdA race)

Question: Do you like to read personal stories from top triathletes who participated in Ironman Coeur d’Alene?

Ironman CdA Champ Describes Thrill

In her blog, Linsey Corbin says her win in the women’s division of Ironman Coeur d’Alene was a dream come true: “It still doesn’t seem like that’s me — Ironman Coeur D’Alene Champion! I only slept a few hours after the race and when I woke up I had to make sure it was true — looking at the photos from the paper to believe it. I thought just finishing an Ironman was an adrenaline rush. Let me tell you — winning one takes it to another level. In my finish-line interview, I told the crowd it was such an awesome feeling that everyone needed to win one! For me, winning Ironman Coeur D’Alene was about chasing your dreams.” More from Linsey’s blog here.

Question: Are you chasing a dream?

Volunteers Made Ironman CdA Go

When athletes would run by an aid station during Sunday’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene and ask for water, Gatorade, a cold sponge or bananas, they got it. When they needed sunscreen, someone put it on for them. When they needed encouragement, they heard it. When they needed to be held up after finishing, they were. Say thanks to the volunteers of Ironman, all 3,600 of them. “From the beginning at the time you dropped your clothes off to the time they were putting a wrap around your shoulders to stay warm at the end, there was not a step missed,” said Jim Smith of Hayden, who completed the daylong race in 13 hours, 28 minutes/Bill Buley, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Were you an Ironman Coeur d’Alene volunteer? Tell us about your experience.

Parting Shot — 6.28.10

And here’s one final photo by Christa Hazel of Sunday’s Ironman, showing the checkpoint at Silver Beach with an hour and half remaining in the race. Posts Christa on Facebook: “The moon rise was spectacular!” Now, we’ll officially put Ironman to bed for another year.

High Noon: Ironwomen & Kennedy Girls

“Linsey Corbin and the runner-up Meredith Kessler came back between 10 pm and midnight to hand out medals to finishers coming in under the wire,” posts Councilman MikeK, on his Facebook page. “Very classy ladies and great fun - they took a picture with my daughters (Nora & Maggie) which will be a keepsake for my girls. Amazingly, they were dancing and grooving as though they hadn’t just swam, biked and ran 8,000 miles in the heat, while I was winded from walking up and down Sherman Ave cheering finishers. Amazing.”

Question: What do you do for exercise daily? Weekly?

Christa: Lipstick Or Not For Ironwomen?

On her Facebook page, Christa Hazel has a photograph of this pensive Ironman triathlete as she faces the swimming portion of the big race Sunday. Christa comments: “The Lipstick Lady makes me ponder whether or not I would wear lipstick if I were to compete one day.”

Question (for the ladies of HucksOnline): Would you wear lipstick or not, if you participated in Ironman Coeur d’Alene?

Kiki: How Do Iron(wo)men Recuperate?

On my Facebook page, Kiki Miller asks: “What do you hear Iromen do the morning after? Is there like an Ironman hangover cure? Group therapy? Moan and sleep? After so much training and then the emotion of the day, it must be very unique time.”

Question: Anyone have answers to her questions?

Complete Ironman Coeur d’Alene Results

After crossing the finish line with a new women’s Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene course record of 9:17:54, Linsey Corbin goes back to be congratulated by spectators Sunday afternoon in downtown Coeur d’Alene. (Photo: Bruce Twitchell, special to The Spokesman-Review.)

Ironman Proposes At Finish Line

Andrew Hill of Spokane, Washington was about 140.5 miles into his second Ironman triathlon when all of a sudden he stopped short of the finish line along Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to engage in a warm embrace with his girlfriend, Chelsea. What happen next came as a total surprise to Chelsea. Young Andrew Hill dropped to one knee, opened a little white box and asked Chelsea to marry him. She of course said yes/Dave Erickson, KXLY. More here.

Question: Was your wedding proposal creative?

AM: Coloradan Tops Ironman CdA Field

Andy Potts celebrates as he crosses the finish at the Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene with an official time of 8:24:14 Sunday afternoon in downtoiwn Coeur d’Alene. Complete results of Ironman Coeur d’Alene here. (Bruce Twitchell/special to The Spokesman-Review)

Hayden’s Allie Ukich Finishes Ironman CdA

Hayden Lake resident Allie Ukich crosses the finish line after a grueling day on the Ironman Coeur d’Alene course/Christa Hazel photo, special to Huckleberries Online. You can see more of Christa’s photos on her Facebook page here.

Beware: Ironman Crossing

First, I need to say that I (heart) the fact that Coeur d’Alene hosts an Ironman event each summer. Now, let’s discuss the crazed triathlete that we must endure for weeks up to the event. On my Facebook page, one commenter had this close encounter w/a rude triathlete this morning: “Driving onto (North Idaho College) campus this morning, I rolled down my window and reminded a jaywalking Ironman that it was safer in the crosswalk he was ignoring … got a less than pleasant response — so much for the runners high!” Another recommended: “During the weeks prior to Ironman, drivers need to ramp up their bike watch game. Realize these stealth athletes are in camo and travel at 3 times the average biker speed. Look 6 times at the intersections.” (SR File Photo: Dan Pelle, from 2009 Ironman Coeur d’Alene)

Question: Have you had a close encounter w/a crazed Ironman contestant this month?

Christa’s Ironman Report No. 2

I covered 40 miles on my bike this morning. The tone on the Centennial Trail between 9 & 10 am out to Higgens Point was more serious. I saw numerous Ironmen with the carbon fiber bikes and the pointy helmets out today. I did not see any up around Hayden Lake, which is different from my previous riding days up north lately. The Prairie Trail was home to quite a few runners today but I can’t differentiate runners from Ironmen so I’m not sure if it is related. On my way back through town, it appeared to be packet pick up day for racers. The downtown corridor was heavily congested with foot traffic that all had the same blue Ironman bag full of info and a Wheaties sample. Between the athletes, the cyclists and the car traffic, you really need to drive slowly through downtown right now/Christa Hazel, special correspondent for HucksOnline.

Christa’s Ironman CdA Report, No. 1

Berry Picker Christa Hazel will be representing Huckleberries Online (full press credentials, and all) at Ironman Coeur d’Alene through Sunday. She just e-mailed this: “I was down (at Ironman Village at City Park) this morning.  Tents are going up and a lot of worker bees seem pretty busy. I’m also noticing quite a few out-of-town plates with extremely fit drivers/passengers exploring CdA and the surrounding area.  The Centennial Trail out to Higgens Point is fairly congested between families walking and tri-athletes training.  I’ve started using the road instead of the path because the walkers with little kids are making it more dangerous on the trail while cyclists are trying to move along.”

Question: Anyone else notice anything unusual pertaining to Ironman Coeur d’Alene in your ‘hood this week?