This year, AbaData made the decision to sponsor a local amateur athlete in his pursuit of qualifying for and competing in the Ironman World Championships. Craig Schmitt is a physio therapist in Red Deer and going into the 2014 season had already completed 3 Ironman distance triathlons, including one pervious trip to the World Championships.
In order to compete in the World Championships, athletes must first earn a spot by finishing high enough in their age group to earn a spot. Craig was able to qualify in Ironman Coeur d’Alene back in June of this year by finishing eighth in his age category. (On a side note, the top female professional in the event was a Canadian, Heather Wurtele).
The Ironman World Championships took place in Kona, Hawaii last Saturday, October 11. I was lucky enough to be able to travel with Craig and his wife Nicole to Hawaii to watch the competition. It was an incredibly hot day, with temperatures around 30 degrees at the highest. The theme of the race was H0′omau (the Hawaiian word for perseverance) and that is exactly what was demonstrated by all the racers. 140.6 miles is a long distance to cover in the best of conditions, but when it is that hot and humid, it feels like it must become even farther.
Craig crossed the finish line in 10 hours, 21 minutes and 24 seconds. It was not his best time at that distance, but we were incredibly happy for him and honored to have been able to support him throughout the year.