Ironman brand owner World Triathlon Corp (WTC) has announced the seven winners of the 2013 Kona Inspired program – granting them a slot and fulfilling their dream to swim 2.4-miles, bike 112-miles and run 26.2-miles at the 2013 Ironman World Championship triathlon on 12 October 2013, in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.
With the support of The Ironman Foundation, Ironman brand owner World Triathlon Corp (WTC) kicked off the Kona Inspired program for the second year in a row after a successful inaugural campaign.
Originally created in 2012, Kona Inspired provides a platform for Kona dreamers to share their story of how they best represent the Ironman mantra ‘Anything is Possible’. A group of 45 finalists were selected and broken into three consecutive 10-day voting rounds. The public then voted to determine the two winners from each round with Ironman selecting one wild card athlete.
2013 Kona Inspired athletes:
Lyle Anderson – Hurricane, Utah (United States): When diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago, Anderson felt defeated. After signing up for a triathlon, his determination to conquer the race resulted in finishing the 2012 Ironman St George. Anderson hopes to be an example to others suffering while proving that anything is possible.
Dean Bullock – South Jordan, Utah (United States): With three Ironman triathlons, five Boston Marathons and long-time dreams of competing at Kona, Bullock refuses to let brain cancer define him as he strives to prove anything is possible.
Naomi Cermak – Cambridge, Ontario (Canada): Last year Cermak was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma, but won’t allow herself to give up the battle in achieving one of her life’s dreams, to qualify for the Ironman World Championship.
Win Charles – Aspen, Colorado (United States): With the help of her cousin Barbara Ann Bernard, Charles dreams of being the first female team with cerebral palsy to finish the Ironman World Championship. Her passion for life and love of sports drives her desire to race at Kona and show the world that anyone with a disability can compete.
Terry Kennedy – Norah Head, New South Wales (Australia): Terry Kennedy signed up for his first marathon to honour his son born with a brain disorder and father diagnosed with cancer, but days before the race, he suffered a stroke and heart attack. Dedicated to recovery, Kennedy completed an Ironman and continues setting big goals: Kona being his biggest.
Kelly Miyahara – Los Angeles, California (United States): On the day of the 2012 Ironman World Championship, Miyahara’s friend and triathlon teammate, Marisela, was killed in a tragic cycling accident while training for her first Ironman. Competing in Kona will give Miyahara the opportunity to fulfil her and her friend’s Ironman dream.
Nicholas Tierney – Powell, Ohio (United States): In 2012, Tierney and his wife’s lives changed when they welcomed their four children, three boys and one girl, into the world. Born at 29 weeks, his quadruplets spent over a month in the NICU and Tierney had to drop out of Ironman Wisconsin, but he still dreams of competing in Ironman races.
In support of Kona Inspired, The Ironman Foundation will provide additional benefits to this year’s winners. Each winner has the opportunity to support the cause they are passionate about through The Ironman Foundation’s fundraising program, ‘Your Journey, Your Cause’. The platform allows athletes to select a charity and fundraise in support of the charity’s mission. The Ironman Foundation has also agreed to match up to US$10,000 for the charity of the Kona Inspired winner that raises the most money for his/her cause.
In addition to the World Championship race entry, the winners will receive a Kona Inspired-branded race kit and participation in a triathlon training program or camp. On site in Hawaii, the winners and their two guests will receive VIP seating at the Welcome Banquet, Aloha Reception, Race Day Viewing and Awards Banquet.
“The stories of these individuals are truly inspiring and capture the essence of Ironman,” said Thad Beaty, guitarist for Grammy-winning group Sugarland, a Kona Inspired spokesperson and Ironman triathlete. “I’m thrilled to be a part of Kona Inspired and to have the opportunity to swim, bike and run alongside these remarkable men and women in Hawai`i.”