Ironman Branson 70.3 and Meeting a Legend

Well, I survived!  Last Sunday was Ironman 70.3 Branson.  It was the race that I had vowed to do no matter what this year.  The reason?  I had signed up to do it last year but at the last minute decided not to do it.  I had a health scare in 2010 that kept me from training, which led to a lot of weight gain and loss of fitness.  I knew that Branson would be a tough, hilly course so I made the wise choice to sit it out last year.  Even though I knew that sitting it out was the smart choice, it still hurt.  I woke up race morning in a funk, knowing that I should have been out there.

So I had a decision to make.  Either I could vow to never sign up for that race again or I could sign up and get back into training.  I chose the latter and last December started the process of whipping my butt back into shape.  It’s been a long and slow process with lots of bumps in the road, but I’m back to doing what I enjoy.

On race morning, I was standing in the long line at the porta-potty just before the race start.  I was talking to a nice guy that I had met there, and we were just passing the time talking about triathlon races we had done.  He mentioned doing several Ironman races back in the 80s.  I asked him when his first Ironman race was, and he said 1978.   I knew that was the year that Ironman got its start.  Almost in disbelief, I asked him, “You were in Hawaii in 1978?”  He replied, “Yes, I won it that year.  I was the first Ironman.”  He had told me his name earlier, but it didn’t ring a bell with me so I asked him again, “What did you say your name is?”  “Gordon Haller,” he replied.

Then it all started coming back to me.  I had heard his name on TV and the Internet before.  I even remembered a picture I had seen of him that was from 1978.  It was definitely him.  He even still has the beard.  I couldn’t believe that I had been standing there chatting it up with a legend.  This unpretentious man was the winner of the very first Ironman triathlon, a feat which had never been done before.  What’s more?  He still races and is in great shape.  Needless to say, I will continue to be inspired by Gordon.


Published by: David A. Bailey on September 20th, 2011 | Filed under Uncategorized

3 Responses to “Ironman Branson 70.3 and Meeting a Legend”

  1. Denise Says:

    That must have been an awesome introduction. How do you have all the luck? Do you need anything from Kona?

  2. Tim Says:

    Congratulations! That’s great that you did the race, and I enjoyed learning about the 1st Ironman.

  3. David A. Bailey Says:

    Thanks. It was super cool!

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