The grandfathers in Jeju took VERY good care of me!
How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #23: Win a triathlon.
bonus points if it is in Asia.
double extra bonus if it is ironman distance.
triple bonus…win prize money!
$$$ the Wongstar is a Korean millionaire!!! $$$
in short, win an ironman triathlon in Asia and get paid for it.
This may just be the last and final step confirming that I am now a bona fide Asian Triathlon Superstar, that is what Coach tells me.
I am an ironman champion!!! Can you believe it?? I have never won a triathlon outright in my entire life. The best I’ve done is 4th overall a few times in small, shorter races. I even did a new Olympic distance race a few years ago, with only 12 age group women in it, and I thought “aha this is the day.” Nope, got 4th in that one too!
Now I know what the cynics may be thinking, and here is what I have to say about that:
A) “oh Wongstar, you were the only pro woman in the race. All you had to do was finish.”
Well, first, yes it is true. I was the only one of three pro women on the start list to make it to the starting line. But you can’t control who shows up to the race. It’s every athlete’s responsibility to get to the starting line healthy. “Just finishing” is easier said than done; I don’t believe in ever using “easy” and “ironman” in the same sentence. If you are familiar with the Korea Jeju ironman course at all, there is nothing easy about it. And I certainly wasn’t going to take my sweet time just because I had no competition in the pro category.
So since you can only race who shows up, what’s a pro girl to do? Well, you make sure you finish well ahead of the next female (90 minutes is good), and spank as many pro guys, amateur men, and relay teams as you can. Knowing I was the only pro woman racing Sunday, my secret goal was to go top 10, not knowing how realistic it was. When all was said and done, I was only beaten by 3 pro men, 5 age group men, and 2 relay teams. 9th individual overall, now that is definitely my best result ever!
B) “but Wongstar, you can’t say you are an Ironman champion when this race lost its M-dot and is not an Ironman-branded event any more.”
Yes, I know, that is why I use the term “ironman champion” in lower-case letters. As far as I’m concerned, I swam 3.8km (2.4mi), biked 180km (112mi), and ran 42k (26.2mi) on Sunday, i.e. I raced an ironman triathlon on Sunday, and I won. I got my first paycheck ever for a race and gave my first victory speech! So I am an ironman champion. Are you going to tell the pros that win Challenge Roth or Embrunman that they are not ironman champions?
Yeah! I am an ironman champion and this is only the beginning.
Wongstar and Jan Rehula: ironman champions of Korea Triathlon Jeju
Race report to follow soon, there are oodles of great race photos that I must hunt down first, with that very big Wongstar smile… from eye to eye.
In the meantime I’ll go ahead and thank all my sponsors and supporters for helping me get to #1!
- Our country sponsor and race venue, the beautiful Jeju island and Ariel who was our team coordinator and contact from Jeju tourism. She took the best care of me and Cam, greeting us with flowers and presents at the airport and taking us out for food and coffee!
- Cervelo for Khan the Warrior Horse, who helped me ride up to 15th overall after a nasty swim!
- Avia running shoes for helping me run down the boys on Sunday!
- Alex and Brett with teamTBB, for believing in me and helping to make dreams come true. What’s that Alex always says, dreams come a few sizes too big so we can grow into them! Thanks for helping me grow into this one, I know I’ve still got some growing to do.
- Our official suppliers, BlueSeventy for the great wetsuit, Oval Concepts aerobars, ISM saddles and Scody for the race kit.
- SLS3 for the compression sleeves, which not only helped during the race but during all my airplane time and post-race recovery.
- Mark Cathcart, my travel sponsor who helped me get to both this race and to the upcoming Swiss training camp.
- My boss Gary at Gary Berke Prosthetics, who is the coolest boss in the world. Thanks for letting me take such insane amounts of time off work to go to races and training camp and still having a job for me whenever I am home. Your support is unbelievable and you too are helping me pursue my craziest dreams!
- My infamous #1 fan for the moral & emotional support. I’m here in Turkey with him for the weekend, so more on this guy later.
- and saving the best for last, Mom & Dad Wongstar! Thank you for everything! Bet you never thought your daughter would become an ironman champion…then again, maybe you knew all along.