The Ironman World Championship is held October in Kona, and I will be back! No, I won’t qualify as a participant. Heck, I wouldn’t even be eligible for the few lottery spots that are available to complete the field of 1800 athletes. Good grief, I am struggling to get back to walking regularly (no bitching this post, promise). Nope, we are coming back for 2 amazingly, exciting weeks next September/October to volunteer and be a part of this truly amazing race.
For years we have tried to celebrate our anniversary here in Kona, which just happens to fall the same week as Ironman. Reservations are held years in advance by athletes, sponsors, officials, property owners, etc. Our loyalty and repeat business to a prime little condo that hangs over crashing waves finally has paid off. The manager pulled out a corner unit with a wrap-around lanai that she keeps in reserve for returning race customers, and she is letting us rent it for a very reasonable price. We started talking to shop owners and bartenders along the water front about the Ironman experience, and everyone encouraged us to volunteer as a great way to participate and get close to the action. We were given the number of the local volunteer coordinator and are so stoked about doing this!
I watched many marathons when we lived in Houston and one half tri-athalon. The energy is intense. Plus, this is one way to give back to the island that we are so attached to. It takes thousands of volunteers before and during the race to support the event. The one thing we won’t do is play doctor and staff medical stations. Not sure about licensing, but more importantly, we don’t want to mix bidness with pleasure.
So, tonight it’s aloha to the Big Island as we head back to the green desert of Tucson. The week has been full of relaxation, glorious weather, even more glorious humidity on our lizard skin, lots of whales, fresh pineapple dripping down our chins (thanks to Shelley for the tips), time on the water, and the sound of soothing waves. As one local told me, “We live on the land; we draw life from the ocean.”
Village of Kailua-Kona seen from swim portion of Ironman