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Posted by Rick Civelli | 11.08.2008 | WB Surf Camp News

Beach to Battleship Ironman

Wilmington, North Carolina hosted its first Ironman and Half Ironman on November 1st.  For those of you who are not familiar, Ironmans are an event that started in Hawaii in 1978, and since then, has grown in size due to its rising popularity among top athletes. The full Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run (full marathon). Talk about intense! I ran my first marathon this past February, and that in itself was a feat of great magnitude! To run a full marathon AFTER having completed a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride…..I cannot imagine.

Okay, are you ready for the BIG NEWS………  Surf Camp’s own Clifton Perkins, one of our great friends and our lead American Red Cross Certification Instructor, was 6th out of the water during the swim portion of the event!  This is absolutely something to be super proud of because that water was chilly, and the swim was long!!!  Clifton was a collegiate swimmer (he could give Michael Phelps a run for his money) and an overall waterman.  Another Surf Camp friend, Bill C., who is the father of one of our top and longstanding instructors, Chris, was one of the “Ironmen.”  Check out this article in Wrightsville Beach magazine about the Ironman and read about the training these tougher than nails athletes went through to prepare for this event.


                                                   Clifton the Waterman

I really wanted to see at least one leg of this great event because it impresses me to no end that 500 people had signed up for and intended to complete this awesome challenge. There were also 500 who signed up for the half-Ironman.  So, I headed towards Wrightsville Beach for my 10 mile run at 7:30 that morning (10 miles felt so meager compared to what these athletes were doing). As I ran, I thought about how the participants were in the middle of their swim in Banks Channel, stroking through the chilly water in the first leg of their long journey. As I arrived, I witnessed the first biker making his way down the road, probably trying to warm up his extremities after the frigid swim.  More bikers came speeding towards me, and I continued to shout words of support……………… ” You all are awesome!…….you look great!……..keep it up!”

Being a runner and having entered my share of races, I knew what it meant to have people on the sidelines giving you big smiles and words of encouragement as you fought off the butterflies in your stomach and asked yourself “What the heck am I doing???” I received numerous “thank yous” from the participants, which I think is extraordinary because they do not need to thank me for being there. I should be thanking them for the motivation they give me to continue working hard and pushing myself, even when I feel like I can’t run another step. 

As the first woman biked past me, I really felt the excitement run through me. “Hmmm, maybe I could do this one day” I thought to myself as she gave me a smile and then continued on down the road. I definitely think it is possible, but maybe in a few years. I think I should get another marathon or two under my belt first!  Maybe one day, I will be the one smiling back at the person on the sidelines who’s cheering me on during an Ironman. Nothing is impossible!!!!!