The 34th Ironman World Championship will take place this weekend in Kona, Hawaii.
Nearly 1,800 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test
of body, mind, and spirit to earn the title of “IRONMAN.”
Our very own Mark Miller will be racing and hopes to make it his 25th iron-distance finish.
Here is Mark's take on what this race means to him:
After 20 years of wanting to head to Kona, I will finally make it there this week. I was lucky enough to be picked in the Legacy Lottery this year. Cannot help but think about all the friends I have made through racing. I have seen them come and go over the years with only one still racing when I started. That guy, friend, and just a solid guy Kyle Love. He has seen my good and bad and has supported me all the way, any one who knows this guy calls him a friend, thank you Kyle.
My first Ironman was with Charles Stewart and Dwayne Cormier in Canada. I have trained with a bunch of guys over the years Guy Sylvester, Robert Mitchell, Charles Decker, Charles Brenke, Boo Freeman, and the list goes on. If not for all of you it would be hard to keep on racing. Now yeah it is a lifestyle my family has grown to accept, and yes the sport has been good to me with the amount of life long friends I have made.
Ruud Vuijsters is another guy who I met through tennis, played together for 8 years every Wednesday morning at 5am at Reds. He started riding and with his full time job as a Physical Therapist still has time to run my website which he has full control of and does a first class job with it. He also takes care of me when my bones start to feel old. Great friend and great person, I will never forget the nights he spent in the hospital with me, after the crash in the Vuelta. Thank you.
Another guy I have to thank in many ways is The Mongoose, Smitty Smith. We have raced all over together, several Ironmans in the states, Roth in Germany, and he is the guy who kept me going in Norway for The Norseman - cannot second guess this guy, straight up guy what you see is what you get. Would go to battle with this guy any day, you do want him in your corner, not on the other side!
Also cannot forget the guys who actually got me to start riding a bike, Frank Camalo, Larry Pearson, Frankie Harris, Odie Terry, John Smith, Terry Scott, Allen Breaud, and Bob Giles. At that time I was the youngest in the group, Po-Boy Cycling Team was the group name. Now a days I am one of the older guys in the group and the influx of younger guys is what makes the group go. This year I have had some great saddle time with Nick Rezvani, Kevin Vidrine, Eric Bernard, Dave Leblanc, Jim Winter, Jamie Scott, Anne Sagrera, Cole Leblanc, Jason Mcquat, Pat Gray, Scott Guidry, Craig Puglesi, Ryan Foster, John Fell, Brett Rellick and Troy Roussel. I'm sure I have left out a couple of you, but thanks for the time together on the bike. Pat Gray will also be headed to Kona for the Ironman this year - great guy who is always in control.
Another guy who I cannot forget to thank is John Cobb of Cobb Cycling, who from the get go took me under his wing and allowed me to chase a trade that I love. I have learned a ton from this guy and have not stopped learning. He will be in Kona, and it will be great to have him there. Also attending will be Smitty, his wife Shawn, their daughter Emma, my childhood friend Kevin Fontenot and wife Pat, my mother in law Becky, and all of my family will be there.
I have to thank my wife Michelle and kids Molly, Emma Rose, and Casey who have been there for support of what I love, and because of their love I can chase my dream. Last but not least my Mom, Hazel, who still worries about where and when I am racing, love you Mom. And for the person who passed several years ago, my Dad, Bruce Miller. He passed on to me something that drives me in a way I cannot explain, it is a drive that God knows I inherited from him. Smitty calls it Warriors Blood but that is another story.
God has been good to me. With His will, Kona will be my 25th finish. Thank all of you for your support.
Best of luck to you, Mark! GODSPEED!