Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ironman Florida Volunteering 2013

Panama City swim start.

On Saturday, I volunteered at Ironman FL.  It was a great and inspirational experience.  Bonnie’s team had a great showing of about 20-30 athletes.

Bonnie and I volunteered for out of the water sunscreen.  It was great because the shift is only from  8:00am to 10:00 am and you get to see everyone get out of the water.

Lots of sunscreen

It is a unique experience slathering hundreds of wet athletes with sunscreen especially when you have to complete the task in a matter of seconds.  Sunscreen goes everywhere. 

Bonnie at the sunscreen station

I had young, female athlete (with a smirk on her face) say , “I bet you like doing this!” LOL!!  I told her maybe under different circumstances but I have applied sunscreen to dozens of men with smooth shaven legs that look just like yours (sometimes better).  :-)

Finally a good picture of the two of us.

We also later volunteered to be finish line catchers.  Now this is an awesome job especially the last shift (9pm -12am)!  The crowed was AWESOME.  They were loud.  They banged on the fences. Scream, “you are an Ironman” at all the last finishers.  The crowd was wild, nothing like earlier in the day.  This crowd knew how to party and cheer people onto their dreams.  There were thousands of wild people watching the end of the race. You must stay for the last person at an Ironman.  It is a great experience.

The last shift is where you see the most dreams come true.  You see those who finish with nothing left in their tanks.  I caught the very last person who finished with only seconds to spare. 

Yvonne Van Vlerken and Mr HalfTRI-ng at the finish line.
I got to meet Yvonne Van Vlerken (the race’s women pro winner) during my catching volunteer shift .  She stayed out for the last hours of the race handing out medal and talking to the finishers.  She was an awesome person with a big heart.

Andrew Starykowicz and Mr HalfTRI-ng

I also got to meet Andrew Starykowicz who won 2nd place.  He also broke the world’s record bike split at 4:02:17 (he held the previous record).  He was a great guy.  He asked Bonnie and I if we wanted a picture with him.  He also took a photo with some very young kids next to us.  He told them, “Don’t grow up and get into this sport.”  LOL! He was joking with them because he cramped up and it cost him the 1st place finish.  He was awesome nice.  He also stayed for the last hours of the race at the finish.  He was dancing and cheering people on.

Andrew Starykowicz and Bonnie

I also got to see the two Bahraini princes finish the race.  They had about a dozen Expeditions at the end of the race ready to drive him off.  They also had a police escort for the whole race. 

I also got to see my friend Mathew from Shawn's Anomaly finish another Ironman.  He ran the race with the H.O.P.E. flag.  I met Mathew at Ironman FL 70.3 a few years back.  Now we talk every few months.  He is a great man with a great cause.  Check him out.

It was a great experience.  I highly recommend the experience.  These memories will last a lifetime.

Bonnie and I registering for Ironman 2014.
This was taken just moments before the HUGE spider in the
right hand corner attacked us.
We went to bed at 2:30 am and got up at 5:15 am to go stand in the cold to sign up for Ironman 2014.  It is official, Bonnie and I will be participations in Ironman FL 2014!!

On Saturday, I will be driving back to Miami to participate for Miami Man 70.3.  Three weeks in a row of races has gotten me tired of traveling and living in hotels.  I am looking forward to sleeping at home next weekend.

Bonnie and I in the Ironman 2014 registration tent.

The cheezy Ironman FL cycling jersey.
I got to get one next year


  1. That jersey is so Florida! Love it. I lived in Edgewater, FL until I was 13. I still miss that place a lot sometimes.

    I love volunteering at race events, but an IM would be really awesome.

    LOL on your comment to the girl about the sunscreen. That cracked me up.

  2. Kevin,

    It was so great to see you at the finish line. It was amazing day for sure, and I loved reading your blog about the experience. I am pretty sure I am one of those "smooth legged" men that had you apply sunblock on me.

    Thank you and Bonnie for volunteering and making our day so special.