Age Group Ranking program to provide athletes from around the world a way to track race performance against other competitors
TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2013) – Building upon the success of last season’s pilot program in Europe, IRONMAN announced today the global expansion of the Age Group Ranking (AGR) program for amateur triathletes. In extension of last year’s model, the program will now include all IRONMAN® and IRONMAN 70.3® races in 2013. Beginning with last month’s IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon triathlon and ending with the IRONMAN 70.3 Canberra event on December 15, 2013, all athletes will be automatically entered into the program and receive points based on their finish times.
“After receiving such positive feedback from the triathlete community on the pilot phase, it is a natural progression to further expand the Age Group Ranking program to include all IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of World Triathlon Corporation. “Our athletes from around the world have a competitive spirit and we are excited to offer them an opportunity to track their racing, while rewarding their accomplishments.”
The global program will offer age group athletes a way to earn points based off of their race finishes and measure their race performances against their fellow competitors regionally, as well as from around the world, in one cumulative system. Athletes that compete in any IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 event in 2013 will earn Age Group Ranking (AGR) points. In each IRONMAN event, Age Group Champions will earn 5,000 points, while first place finishers of IRONMAN 70.3 events will earn 3,500 points toward their ranking. Points will then be calculated on a sliding scale based upon each subsequent athlete’s finish time, with a minimum of 1,000 points for an IRONMAN race and 700 points for an IRONMAN 70.3 race, as long as they complete the event.
Points and rankings will be updated weekly online at www.ironman.com/ranking, starting in early spring.
Although athletes may compete in as many 2013 IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events as they choose, only their top three race performances will be calculated toward their AGR. At the end of the 2013 season, all athletes will receive a special certificate and acknowledgement from IRONMAN, recognizing their achievement. Competitors who finish in the top 10 percent globally in either IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3 or a combination of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events, will be designated as IRONMAN All World.
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The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, World Triathlon Corporation (d/b/a IRONMAN), owner and operator of the IRONMAN® Series, has grown from owner of a single race to a global sensation with nearly 190 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IronKids®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
I am an Ironman. I wish I could be a Chris McCormack, Dave Scott or Scott Tinley, but I am just an everage guy with an everage job, but an above average love for triathlon. Now I am not fast, preferring to hang just ahead of mid-pack, but it's almost wrong how much I love to swim, bike and run. I will be the first to admit that if it weren't for a little thing called, "responsibility" I would do this all day, every day.
But I am pretty much like most guys my age, and I want to tell you that Ironman really is possible. I have done more than one Ironman to date. If you put forth a good plan and utilize it, you can make it happen. Some things in your life will have to change and compromises will have to be made between you and the people you are in direct contact with. Aside from the obvious family issues of training 12-20 hours weekly, you must consider your workload, and how tired and cranky you may be. I always consult with my wife and got her blessing before hitting the 'submit' button on active.com.
I am not trying to scare you off, but I want to paint a true picture so you know what to expect, and how to prepare your family, friends, your boss and maybe even neighbors. While training for Arizona, I let my lawn go a little, and my neighbor mowed it for me at least twice. Finally, I just started watering it less so I would only have to mow it once every three weeks.
If you want to try Ironman, there are a number of things you should consider to help ensure you have a great and memorable experience.
Mentally, you will probably go through more ups and downs than you would think possible. You will constantly draw form others' mental banks, so to speak, as you start to peak. Let the people around you know what you are undertaking. It IS a big deal. By keeping your boss in the the loop, he or she will hopefully understand why you may be a little more tired at work.
Consider your typical work schedule. If oyu are a 9-5er, then schedule some training before and after work. I'm not good at getting up before 6:00am, so I scheduled my swims around 6:30am. I did my runs, depending on the distance, during lunch or right after work. I always kept a change of clothes in my car, just in case. If you work a graveyard shift, four 10's or something else, you'll have to find what works best for you. You may have to try several options before you hit on just the right one.
Find out early in training what is going to be the best for you. For example, I like pretzels, power bars stuck to my bike stem and CarboPro. Trust me, the last thing you want on race day are stomach problems. Consult with a coach or expert in sports nutrition to help you tailor your nutrition strategy.
You could try to go ti alone, but for your first Iron-distance race, I recommend come sort of coaching. This was important for me as I was putting my body through some pretty tough stuff. I promise you that questions starting with , "what about..." and "when you did your Ironman, did you..." or my favorite, "have you ever had this happen..." will come up. That's what coaches are there for, and I know from experience they are more than happy to help get you through this. Come race day, you will be more than ready.
This is a small thing, but so important for me. I can't tell you how many times in the pool doing lap after lap, I thought about crossing the finish line and hearing Mike Riley yelling that I was an Ironman. Try this the next time you train. Imagine what the swim will be like- en mass or in waves? What about transition? Don't forget the bike and the run. I have repeated out loud to myself countless time, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
Ironman is possible. And when you finally decide to hit the 'send' button, and if you really follow through with it, I promise you it will change your life forever. You will notice it in yourself and people around you will also see a different side of you. Be intentional and make it happen!
I don’t remember how many times my head hit the ground—I know it was more than twice. By the time I stopped, one side of my bicycle helmet was adorned with road rash. My right shoulder took the brunt of the impact, but road rash also decorated my hip, shoulder and knee. I sat on the asphalt for what seemed like an eternity while the words of a race volunteer faded in and out, trying to tell me I was done for the day.
I’d heard that kind of advice before. Whether it be a marathon or the proverbial journey of a thousand miles, it all starts with the first step. My first step came in the fall of 2007.
My wife and I took a trip to Florida. Before the plane could take off, I had to ask for a seat-belt extender because I was too large for the standard size. When we visited an amusement park I found there were rides for which I simply would not fit. I had no choice but to walk back through the long zig-zagging line to the exit. It was embarrassing and it was one of the last nails in the coffin of my marriage.
My wife left me in January 2008. I had three co-morbidities that were slowly destroying me: hyper tension, sleep apnea and severe gastric distress causing ulcers, indigestion and abdominal pain. I was on heart medication. Fatigue was my constant companion, which lead to a loss of patience. My weight was not only ruining my health it was ruining my life. I was angry, embarrassed and hated myself. My wife leaving sparked something in me. In March of 2008, in an effort to reduce my weight, I opted for gastric bypass surgery. Reducing the size of my stomach would aid me in restoring my health, but to restore my life, my surgeon told me to set a goal. I decided to do an Ironman in 2012 (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 Miles, and run 26.2 miles in less than 17 hours). He told me to be realistic; I told him I was.
I’d tried weight loss on my own, four years prior, and lost 80 lbs in 2004. I’d even started training for the St. George Marathon. Eighty pounds lighter, I was still obese and the added effort resulted in a broken foot. In a matter of months, I gained all the weight back plus some. This time around I knew I needed help and I found it.
I worked the weight loss slowly, losing 100lbs in the first year. Following my doctor’s instructions, I gradually increased my exercise routine until I could jog a few miles at a slow pace. In 2009, I ran my first 5K and I was thrilled! I followed that with a half Marathon then a full Marathon. I did my first Marathon in October of the same year, completing it in just under four hours.
Triathlons came next. In 2010, I did my first half-triathlon and added to that century bicycle rides and more marathons. I felt great and knew I was preparing for something bigger.
I signed up for St. George Ironman 2011 the first day general entry opened. In May 2011 I felt ready for the St. George, a year before the deadline of my goal of doing one in 2012. In preparation, I had made 6 trips to St. George to train. I’d completed the bike course in full three times. I’d completed the running course four times.
On the day of the event I had a great swim, a fast transition, and my first portion of the bike was ahead of schedule but within my estimated range. I felt good and I knew I would meet my goal of finishing before the sunset.
Then the unthinkable happened. As I was leaving the special needs area, I crashed on my bike. I was going 22 miles an hour. I’m not sure how it happened. I may have hit a discarded water bottle, or perhaps the wind was whipping around the box truck at the end of the row. I don’t know. I do know that I only had one hand on my bars because I was putting two energy gels in my back pocket. That’s when my head bounced along the pavement—at least twice—and ended up with road rash all along my right side. That’s when the race volunteer told me I was done for the day.
After about five minutes I got back on my bike and kept going. I rode in severe pain for another sixty miles barely making it to the run transition. On the run, I only made it five and a half miles. Each foot fall shot pain up my right side into my shoulder. I knew I could not continue, and I pulled myself from the race.
A month later, with aches still in my shoulder and knee, I started training to give it another go. The obstacle now was not physical it was mental. In my mind I had failed. I had done everything to prepare and it was not good enough. I decided I needed a coach and I signed up with Coach Keena. She taught me that these experiences are learning opportunities. That is what is so wonderful about triathlon. There is usually something that will go against the plan and when it does we get stronger by learning to adapt and overcome the obstacles in front of us. In November 2011 I traveled down to Arizona to watch a friend, Rory Burke, have an awesome day becoming an Ironman in Tempe. As a volunteer I had the option to sign up for the 2012 Race. I was so determined to make sure I had a spot, I went to the registration tent right after the last person finished the race. I sat (the security guards would not let me lay down) in the rain all night to make sure I would be the first volunteer to sign up. I had my A race and was eager to prepare all summer to finally become an Ironman. Then Rory challenged me to come and do St George with him in 2012. Why not I thought? If I hadn’t wrecked I would have finished and I’d really like to beat the course that beat me.
If you don’t know what happened in 2012 St. George you must not live in Utah. It was looking to be a perfect day. Nice clear-as-glass water, cool morning, slight cloud cover and no wind. 15 minutes after the swim start the winds kicked up to 40 mph. I had just neared the first turn buoy and was wondering why the boats were so close to cause such big waves. Then I looked up. It was chaos. The waves were 4 to 5 feet tall. A swimmer panicked and overturned a kayak as he was trying to grab on for safety. There was a competitor about 10 feet away from me screaming who I think suddenly forgot how to swim. I swam over to him and dragged him over to a kayak. Once he was under control I had a decision to make. I saw they were pulling swimmers out of the water. I knew the day was going to be over for a lot of people. Did I want to quit, or did I want to take on this new challenge? Then it hit me, I understood what Keena had been trying to teach me for almost a year. These winds were not a tragedy - they were an adventure and I was going to face it head on. So I swam. I finished the swim in 2:05 - the slowest 2.4 mile swim ever for me. Even practice swims. But I had never felt so good about a swim. I looked opposition in the face and I overcame. I felt so happy, even though on the bike I pulled up to the afternoon cut off 15 min late and my day was done. I knew by adapting that I became stronger that day. I decided to leave the blue wristband on that they have us wear during the week of Ironman, as a reminder. I would not take it off until I was an Ironman.
After St George an amazing woman contacted me and let me know she wanted to give me a chance to complete an Ironman. She heard my story and was inspired. Before I could say no she had signed me up for Ironman Louisville. She covered race fees, flight, hotel, rental car and even bike transportation. I thought I could share her generosity and asked James Lawrence, the Iron Cowboy to share the room and car with me as I knew he was accomplishing his journey of setting a Guniess World Record, counting on the kindness of others with barely two dimes to rub together. I came out the greater for spending those 5 days with him. Here is a guy that can teach you about adapting to struggles as they arise. No one person has ever inspired me as much as he has.
Louisville did not turn out to be a cakewalk. It had its share of wind and hills and other struggles. It is a Time Trial start so I actually got in the water at around 7:35 but still had to finish by midnight. I understand a little over a fourth of the field did not finish. I struggled on the bike, and on the transition to the run I knew I was in trouble. My mind was telling me to give up. I knew I had fought a good fight and that I would still have Arizona. But, I started to think about James and all he had done this year, then I thought about Keena and her determination to not allow anything to get her down. Last of all I had a wonderful girl on the course, who was there to tell me in 4 simple words which inspired me to walk the marathon in sweltering heat, " I believe in you."
She saw me three times on the course and each time she told me, "I believe in you." So I did it, with less than 6 min. to spare finishing in 16:25:37, I finally became an Ironman. The day Keena cut off my St. George bracelet was a good day. I was an Ironman. While I’m sure most of you are hoping the story is over, those that know me know I am way too long winded to let it go at that! Remember I was still signed up for Ironman Arizona! Tempe was calling and I was determined to make it a great day. Since I had struggled on the run in KY , I focused on the run, doing 2 marathons and 2 half marathons before Arizona. Don’t worry I didn’t race all of them. I was asked to be a pacer so I picked the pace that I wanted to do at IM AZ. I felt so ready! Last weekend in Arizona I had my fastest Ironman swim (very physical swim, in very cold water) followed by my fastest Ironman bike (loved this bike route and had lots of fun). I was only hit with difficulty in the run but still took over an hour off my time finishing in 15:22:30. So now I know my next obstacle... the run… and I am going to do everything I can to face this obstacle and overcome it so I can become that much stronger.
Dr Suess wrote a story called “Oh, the Places You'll Go!” I like to read it to my sons when they are feeling discouraged. The final lines read, “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” I have found, in the last four years that a life spent seeing mountains and choosing to treat them as an adventure rather than a road block, not only makes our lives better and makes us stronger but it makes it more enjoyable.
Since my weight loss journey began in 2008, I’ve lost 175 lbs, I’ve accumulated many miles, and a plethora of medals across countless races, but I realized I’d become a bit of a cliché—a forest for the trees kind of guy. What’s the point? The medal at the end of the race? A healthier body? Those are nice perks but I think it’s more about feeling good with myself, overcoming obstacles, and taking another first step on the next journey and the one after that. Just like you do not become an Ironman by quitting or taking the easy road. You do not reach your full potential either. I hope that my experience will inspire others to make a change in their life as well. What is your mountain? How will you treat it? Well... Now on your way!!
I've been participating in triathlons since 1988. I was a weird and obnoxious kid back then with way too much un-bridled energy. When other guys had pics of Michael Jordan or John Stockton on their lockers, I had Scott Tinley and Mike Pigg plastered all over mine. In 1993, I was lucky enough to qualify for the Ironman in Hawaii. Back then, most of the qualifiers were 1/2 Ironman distances. Not 70.3's. (I still don't understand the thought of branding a half ironman a 70.3. It's a half Ironman, not some digital reference to the distance you travel).
Below are a few personal suggestions and rules to participating or attending the worlds greatest endurance event.
#1- Expect to see things you don't see every day back at home.
The week before Kona was nothing like I encountered at any other race. You will see stuff you would rather forget to remember to forget. Things like the Euro athletes strolling around Kona it their speedos with their baskets full; mostly shaven, some… not. One morning before the race, I was taking an early walk down Ali'i drive and saw a bunch of dudes and a couple of gals running in their underwear in protest of the Euro's dress code. The Underpants Run had only 12 or so that year. Nowadays there are hundreds of folks parading down the road in their tighty-whitey's! Amazing what people will do when they are thousands of miles away from home!
#2 - Prepare to meet your hero!
The highlight of the pre-race festivities was when I was sitting on the Pier after a swim when I met Mike Pigg. He spent some time talking to me like we had been friends for years. (Note: Mike Pigg was a 2-time National Champion, 2nd place finisher in Hawaii, and beat everybody who raced against him in the late 1980's and 1990's. Arguably, he beat Mark Allen more than anyone else on the planet at Olympic and half-iron distances). I was as giddy as a school girl when I met Mike. He took 19th that year and had to retire from long distance racing because of a stomach virus. He raced for several years afterward dominating Olympic, Half Ironman, and Xterra events. He now coaches athletes and is my personal coach. Being coached by one of the worlds best triathlete's is fantastic, because he share's stories of his races and incorporates them into his lessons. You should try him out!
#3 - In Kona, poop happens- period.
The day started off great! The Kona Pier was crowded and full of stressful athletes. I remember sitting impatiently trying to make my way into the pier to get my body marked. I felt like I was packed in a case of sardines. Then, out of the blue, I hear this voice, "Mr. Aamodt, Mr. Aamodt, we have been waiting for you. Please, everyone, make way for Mr. Aamodt". Unbeknownst to the crowd and myself, it was my brother Jim who was a race marshal that year and used his credentials to escort me to the front of the line. I didn't argue!
The swim was fabulous. It seemed like an eternity swimming to the turnaround boat. At the swim finish, I exited the water, ran through the changing tent, and there was that strange race marshall holding my bike out for me….COOL! The climb out of Kona up to the Queen K Highway seemed effortless. Cowbells and screams were a plenty. People you don't even know are yelling out your name and cheering for you.
The first 50 miles out to Hawi were very enjoyable. I was loving every minute of it. At the turnaround point, volunteers were handing out our special needs bags with our gear in them. I found my bag, and tried to pull out my version of GU. It was called a 'Leppin Squeezy'- banana flavored. That stuff was magical! When I tried to pull it out of the bag, everything fell out onto the ground. At 22+ mph, and in the thick of the coolest race on Earth, I decided to not stop, but continue on without it.- poop happening #1. By mile 80, I was spent. Fried. Toast. Bonked. Hit the Wall. I did, however, found refuge in the last aid station. I physically stopped my bike (which I never would have done previously) and grabbed a gazillion bananas, plethora of Fig Newtons, and some Gatorade. By the time I reached the Kona Surf (T2 back then), I was feeling better. Ad to that the crowd and adrenaline, I was sooooo ready to run. My old running coach, Roger Burhley had given me some killer workouts prior to the race which included big hill repeats to prepare me for the exit out of the surf and up "the wall". "The Wall" isn't on the run portion anymore. I remember exiting T2 running down the wall, turning around and telling myself not to look up, but looking up anyway. All I saw was pavement landscaped like a big wall. Ugh. My heart rate shot sky high and my legs burned like nothing else. At the top of The Wall, I felt a little composure. By mile 8 I was running 7:30's with another gentleman. I don't remember his name, but we had a great friendship going for a few miles. While we were running and encouraging each other, I looked down at my feet. They hurt very badly. Where were my socks? -poop happening #2. I was so caught up in the emotion of the day at the transition area, I forgot to put my running socks on. (anything over an Olympic distance race, I would wear socks). My white Saucony's were coated red with blood. By mile 11, the blisters were so intolerable, I had to take my shoes off at each aid station, and apply new bandages. I remember one gentleman from Denmark introducing himself to me and offering me his socks. The kindest gesture ever! I was overcome by his generosity, but I kindly declined. He walked with me for about a half of a mile. Cool guy. Probably never see him again. My goal was a 3:30 marathon. I ended up running a 4:20, and to this day, I have scars on my heals from the blisters. (please don't judge me; I'm typically not that stupid!)
#4- The pain is worth it.
Crossing the finish-line in Kona is like nothing else. I am fortunate to have been a part of it. I remember after the event, telling my family that I was going to go back to the condo for a quick shower. The plan was to come back to the finish line and party until midnight (which is the tradition). The next thing I knew, it was 1pm the next afternoon. Oopsie! I was so sore. My whole body ached-shoulders, back, legs…oh the legs! calves, quads-- you name the body part- It was sore. I decide to go for a walk and grab something to eat and loosen up the muscles. But really, all I wanted to do was eat. and eat. and eat. While walking, I saw Mark Allen, who won the event, gingerly trying to step down off of a curb. He looked sore too! He was human after all! We caught eye contact just as he finished stepping off the curb. I said, "Great Job, Mark." He gave me a thumbs up and a little laugh. That was cool. The pain is worth it. Yes, Indeed.
Dan Aamodt is an avid middle of the packer with over 150 events under his belt. He lives in Draper, UT and has a pretty darn cool wife and two kids. In his spare time, he likes to…well, as the Race Director for Porter Half, he really doesn't have much spare time. You can visit Dan's website at www.lonepeakevents.com
"The fastest path to both physician and mental domination in Ironman triathlon is to race and compete in triathlons during your build-up to the big day."