Triathlon Trio Ready for the Ultimate Test Bermuda’s LifeSport Athletes Prepare for Ironman this Saturday
Oct 07, 2010
A trio of triathletes leave Bermuda this week to compete in one of the toughest Ironman races in the world.
Karen Smith, Karen Bordage and Kent Richardson will make the 17-hour journey to Hawaii over the next few days for Saturday's famous Ironman World Championships.
They'll be meeting up with Bermuda's top male triathlete Tyler Butterfield who will also be competing in Hawaii.
The 27-year-old, who claimed a bronze medal at this summer's CAC Games, has been having a superb year on the professional circuit as he continues his impressive build-up to the World Championships.
Alongside 1800 other athletes, the three Winners Edge team-mates and Butterfield will swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, and then run, jog, or crawl, 26.2 miles to the finish line. They have 17 hours to complete a race many are just happy to have got into in the first place.
All the three of the Bermuda amateurs have their goals for the race, Smith wants to run the marathon rather than just survive it, Richardson just wants to finish and Bordage will be happy if she ends the day with a smile on her face.
"If you're out there for 17 hours then something's gone off the rails," said Smith.
Getting there has been something of an achievement in itself, considering that to do so they had to win one of the qualifying events held around the world.
Bordage qualified by winning in Maryland at the Eagleman Ironman, while Richardson finished third at the half-Ironman St Croix but was awarded a spot because the second place finisher had already qualified. And Smith, just to make sure, won two events, in St Croix and Lake Placid, where she set a time of 10 hours, 21 minutes, 57 seconds.
For Smith and Bordage this will be their third time at what is regarded as the pinnacle of their sport. "It's the race that everyone dreams of doing, or wants to do at some point, it's probably the most famous race," said Smith.
"It's one that generates the most emotion, they've shown people crawling across the line. It's so difficult to qualify, to get there you basically have to have won your age group in a race.
"A lot of people who do the Ironman races, their goal is to get to Hawaii, and they try for years and years to do it. We've been fortunate that we will get to experience this for the third time, and it doesn't get boring."
"It's a real privilage to be in this race," added Bordage.
While Richardson's two companions are used to the long distances associated with a full Ironman, the 51-year-old will be experiencing it all for the first time. The St Croix event where he qualified was a half-Ironman, and if the112 mile bike ride wasn't daunting enough, it will be the first time he has run a marathon.
"This is my first Ironman, my first marathon, this is three times the distance I usually do," said Richardson. "I'm all about Olympic distance (one mile swim, 24-mile bike, and 10k run) and half-ironman (one-and-a-half mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13 mile run).
"This is a game of patience and it's a major learning trip for me."
"We convinced Kent he should go," said Bordage, "it's the pinacle triathlon race. He had had an opportunity to go, and despite the fact that he hasn't done an Ironman or a marathon before, you would never give up that opportunity."