The Chance of a Lifetime, IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships
Before 2021, I had spent approximately zero minutes contemplating the possibility of participating in the Ironman World Championships as a pro. Maybe some distant day I might aim for the age group World Championships, but in the pro field, that competition is exclusively available to the best of the best. In 2016, the qualifications for Championship status were based on points accumulation throughout the season, and while Daniela Ryf and Holly Lawrence had earned something like 50,000 points, I think I topped out at 136.
In recent years the system changed to one that rewards athletes for a single breakout performance (usually first or second place) at an Ironman 70.3. But with my skills consistently landing me at the finish line a good half hour behind the leader, neither format presented me with a viable path to qualification.
I laughed at first when I got the email in July, telling me that my podium finish at Ecuador had earned me a slot to the 2021 World Championships in St. George, Utah. Yeah, right! Compete against the best in the world?! Why would I do that?
Thankfully, Coach Tim had the better question, "Why not?"
Aching to race at least once more this year, and faced with a limited menu of races to choose from, I had no good answer to that question. I was also overwhelmed with curiosity ... what was it like to be at a pro championship? I realized this was probably my one opportunity to find out.