“The title ‘world’s greatest endurance athlete’ some writers have
given to the Ironman champion is wrong,” she said. “I don’t want to
sound egotistical, but it is not that hard a race to finish. I have done
the Western States 100-mile run and the Iditasport, 100 miles on
snowshoes in the Alaskan wilderness. Both of those involve much
less intensity for a much longer time. The thing that is truly difficult
about the Ironman is the intensity. The Ironman distance demands a
lot, but what sets it apart is how fast they go. No other race gets that
good an athlete on that kind of course. You add the fatigue from the
swim, the fatigue on the bike, and the fatigue on the run, and what
results is a huge fatigue, an exponential multiplier of fatigue.”
–Sally Edwards, a pioneer in women’s endurance sports (taken from the book 17 Hours to Glory)
Dear Triathlon Spirits,
On September 12, please give me speed.

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa is a professional triathlete who has logged over 8,000 miles in competition of swimming, biking and running across five continents. She came to triathlon from an ultrarunning background and over the last few years has found success back on the trails: in 2018 she set the female supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Vermont's 273 mile Long Trail in 5 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes. In 2020 she set the women's supported FKT for climbing the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks in 3 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes. She is a triathlon and running coach, and also enjoys spending time guiding hikers out on the trails. Alyssa is based in Charlottesville, VA with her dog Ramona.

0 comments on “>QOTD”

  1. >I think she just contradicted herself. As she pointed out, you are really fatigued and trying to go really fast in order to win Ironman. "Not to sound egotistical" but I could definitely walk/hike 100 miles (forgetting any sort of time barrier). Would that make me a better endurance athlete? If anyone can finish an Ironman, that same "any"one can also finish a 100 mile event. Ironman champions are endurance athletes because they have taught themselves to ENDURE FATIGUE and still race very, very fast.That's my two cents

  2. >That felt a little more like 3 cents.Anyway, first, I think "anyone" would finish an Ironman way before anyone would walk/hike 100 miles. The repetitive nature of the 100 miles just makes it way harder than getting to break up the time into 3 sports and 3 different muscle groups. Seeing as how I have actually done both (to sound egotistical, actually), I can make that assessment. Either one is equally as difficult to become the champion of, however.But moving on, I think she is saying that classifying the Ironman as the greatest measure of an endurance athelte is incorrect. The race itself is simply not the hardest, nor the longest, race to do. (I also wouldn't say WS is, but who knows) She's saying that the appeal of the IM is that it is an endurance event, but it is different in that it allows for the greatest potential in speed over a long distance.In theory, the "world's greatest endurance athlete" would be the one who wins the race it takes the most to endure. She's saying she doesn't think it's the IM. I certainly don't thing it's a race that is won in less than 9 hours either. I think endurance is a mixture of speed and stamina, and there are races which require both to win over a much longer period of time and more difficult terrain than the IM. But, the IM is still a super awesome hard endurance event.

  3. >Well, as you know, I disagree – I don't think just anyone can finish ANY triathlon because of the two elements that require a little more skill than running. That's not to say running doesn't require skill, but swimming certainly does and so does riding a bike. I also wouldn't say that hardest endurance event is the one that is the longest, necessarily. And while I have never done any race distance over half iron, I don't think the attitude of "any race less than 9 hours" isn't a big deal is one I would personally have. But seeing as I will never do either/any race longer than a half, I suppose I am not qualified to have an opinion.

  4. >for the record, I said nothing of the sense that a race under 9 hours isn't a big deal. I'm just saying, that in my opinion, the winner of a race that takes less than 9 hours is not the world's greatest endurance athlete for doing so.maybe that same person WOULD win an event I'd consider a fair test of who is the world's greatest endurance athlete – that I don't know.if anything, i continued to give the IM mad props by saying its still a super hard event!

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