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Are Kona bound amateur athletes tougher than the pros?

Posted Oct 04 2011 9:15am

Ironman Swim

Are pro triathletes a little babied?  Most of us age groupers would cut off an appendage to line up just once to race at Kona.
“I don't know, it’s the battle, the going to war with the other [athletes], hanging together, having our own [transition spot], staying in hotels the night before the [race], setting ourselves apart, being different than everybody else, having a chance to be somebody, to do something that people look up to you for, your strength, your courage, not everybody can [finish a triathlon]... were the lucky ones.” – The Program

That seems to sum up the triathlete mantra for age groupers.  Are pros taking it for granted when they waffle and hem-and-haw about taking the race off for injuries or other reasons?  Last year Chrissie was a last minute scratch due to illness at Kona.  What age grouper wouldn’t have been out there barfing on the Queen K just to be out there? 

This year Chrissie had a nasty spill two weeks out and the buzz was about if she would compete this year or be a scratch with her injuries .  Turns out it’s mostly superficial as nothing seems to be broken and all her joints are in working order.  Should she drop since she won’t be 100%?  Would you?

Terenzo Bozzone talked about his reasoning for skipping Kona 2011 even though he qualified HERE .  "After long consultations with my coach and doctors we have decided that the best course of action moving forward is to go back home to New Zealand and look into different treatment options and get my Achilles back to 100% before any long term damage is caused,” Bozzone said.”

 All legitimate reasons for passing on an Kona, or are they?

We age groupers train AND work AND take care of our families.  We have less time to work with, less time to recover, less money (some of us may have more - lucky you if you do!) to support triathlon adventures.  Even with those obstacles, you better believe that a large majority of AG's race Ironman's with some sort of hurting or injury.  Most of those races aren't even the championship at Kona.  Everyday triathletes spilling their guts on the race course despite being under the weather or hurt.

What say you, age groupers?  From your perspective, are the pro’s justified in being selective about racing Kona, or should they be their short of broken bones or severe head injuries if they have qualified?

Runfinish Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog , married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans.  Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts HERE and he collects race reviews at .  Contact Ryan at: or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan .

*Expressed opinions are not necessarily that of

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