“Hey, are you in the race?” yelled a voice from the darkness opposite the 1980 Ironman finish line on the island of Oahu.
“Yes,” I replied.
There were no bands…no cheerleaders…no Mike Reilly telling me that I am an Ironman. Nope. As one of the 108 finishers of the third-ever Ironman, and the last one on Oahu, all I had at the finish was my support crew and an idiot in the park doing one arm push-ups.
I knew I’d be back.
David Bailey and Carlos Moleda: When the two of them raced, the disability seemed to disappear and on race day it was simply two great athletes looking to win the most important event in their sport.
In 2000, in the third of their three battles, Bailey trained harder than ever before and at the Ironman World Championship, he eventually caught Moleda in his racing chair during the marathon at about mile 21.
After finally beating Carlos Moleda, David Bailey stayed at the finish to greet him.
As Moleda crossed the line, the two touched gloves and embraced. I could see Bailey whispering something to Moleda. As we headed back toward the massage area I asked Moleda what he said:
“He said ‘Thank you’,” remembered Moleda.
“Thank you? Thank you for what?” I asked.
“I asked him the same question,” said Moleda. He said ‘Thank you for pushing me to a level I never would have reached on my own.’”