Monday, April 22, 2013

NOLA IronMan 70.3: A Spectator Sport

Yesterday was the annual IronMan New Orleans 70.3 here in the Crescent City. Typically, if there’s a big distance race in town, I would be out there participating. However, not being a fan of swimming (much less swimming in Lake Pontchartrain), I routinely decide to sit this one out.

This year though, I decided to participate in a different way. In light of recent events, I decided that supporting the athletes that were swimming, biking and running was much more important than sleeping in and watching Sunday morning reruns of bad reality TV on the E! network. I texted friends Saturday night to make plans and head out to the run course to cheer at some point in the race.

Sunday morning we texted again to determine a spot that would work well to meet, deciding that the finish would be crowded and the support would be sufficient. Instead, we decided to meet at the entrance to City Park by the New Orleans Museum of Art at 10am with the front-runners expected to start passing within 15 minutes. I stopped on the way to pick up mimosa ingredients (to toast the runners, of course) and arrived right on time. The course was still open to cars and there was no one around. We triple checked the course, date and time of the race to make sure we were in the right spot. Soon after confirming we hadn't missed anything, other spectators started to join us with their Bloody Mary's in hand and we became slightly less insecure about drinking out of champagne flutes on the course.

It was a great experience sitting on the front lawn of NOMA watching athletes take on the 70.3 challenge, with the extra "cool factor" of the close footrace heating up in the men’s division right as they passed us in the 10th mile. I spent the better part of the day clapping and cheering on runners as they approached the end of their long event. These participants certainly deserved the awesome hardware they received at the finish, with the replica of the Armstrong Park arch as its main focal point. It was inspiring to see the IronMen and Women, and even makes me consider wanting to take on the challenge myself.

What have you experienced while spectating a race that inspired you to take on a new challenge?


  1. One thing that inspired me was seeing people running as a marathon maniac, half fanatic, or 50 stater. Seeing them wearing their running bibs made me want to join and see if I could be a fanatic and run in every state. The challenge has given me a focus and goal with running. I now try to pick races in places I haven't been. So far it has been a great experience. Now I just need to win the lottery to support my addiction.

    1. I used to think that "those people" were crazy. Now that you and I are both one of them, we KNOW that WE are crazy. So where are you getting those winning lottery numbers, Karen? And can I have a set of my own?