With less than a week to go before the 2010 Ironman World Championship, work is probably the last thing on the minds of the 1,800 athletes preparing to compete in Saturday’s race. However, their individual occupations not only help fund the expensive hobby they all have, it also helps give us an idea about what type of personality and lifestyle the average Ironman age-group athlete possesses. So here’s a quick rundown:
Business owners edged out the competition with 111 competitors, just beating out engineers with 105 athletes. What does this mean? Well, it shows that the average Ironman athlete is a self-starter, self-motivated and not afraid to take risks, hence the business owner mentality. At the same time, many athletes here have extreme focus and methodical minds (hence those engineering degrees), and are good at both problem solving and understanding (and appreciating) technology.
While 94 teachers will toe the line this year, there will also be 55 students out there to give them a run for their money (and undoubtedly not raise their hands before asking them a question).
If you’re competing this weekend and on the bike you hear someone behind you give you directions on how to improve your pedaling efficiency, chances are you’ve come across one of the 28 physical therapists on the course. But even if you don’t take their advice and find yourself with a blown-out knee at mile 6 of the run, you have a solid chance of finding a fellow racer to help you out: there will be 75 doctors and 33 nurses competing with you.
There’s always great U.S. military representation in Kona, and this year the U.S. Navy takes top honors with 11 athletes. The U.S. Army comes in second with five athletes and the U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard each have two athletes toeing the line.
Every age-group athlete here in Kona has to do something to pay the bills. And what exactly that is says a lot about who we are as a subculture.