The World Triathlon Corporation or Ironman itself, I really don't know who governs this race anymore, has slipped us a fast one. They have taken away one of the greatest benefits of completing this race.
Ironman recently announced the following:
"Friends and/or family members will no longer be permitted to cross the finish line or enter the finish chute with participating athletes. However, friends and/or families are encouraged to reunite with their athlete in the photo/post-race area just beyond the finish line"
I will not win my age group. I will not qualify for Kona. I will finish somewhere in the 13 to 14 hour range. When I make that last turnaround in Lake Placid and head for the Olympic skating oval and the IM finish, I am flooded with adrenaline. I almost feel I could go another 5 miles. The joy of seeing my family is overwhelming. At both my IM races and finishes in Lake Placid, my three daughters waited patiently for me. They were excited to see me finish the race. They are getting older now but they still smile and join me in my dash across the finish line and through the tape. I think they look forward to it.
But now the Big Corporation says: No More!
It's a sad day for the common athlete.
Somewhere, there are athletes like me who may indeed win their Age Group. And somewhere deep inside, and I realize this is dangerous to be accusatory, I believe it is probably because of them that we cannot finish with our family anymore. They were tired of fighting Bob and his three kids as they strolled across the finish line. Maybe it cost Johnny Age Grouper a few precious seconds off his time. He still qualified but it could have been 2 seconds faster. And in his opinion, that was an outrage. Two sides to every story.
Or maybe it's the I-word getting in the way again. The I-word being Insurance. Whatever the reason, it won't be the same for me this year at Lake Placid. It's just a sad day.