|According to eventual
pro men's winner Tony DeBoom, the scene was "unbelievable." It
was unbelievable enough that Ironman North America President Graham Fraser
called off the swim shortly after the winds picked up--the first time an
INA swim has been cancelled. Unfortunately, hundreds of swimmers thrashing
through the waves had no way of knowing what was happening and continued
to struggle onward--in whatever direction they were pointed.
Well over an hour after
the canon had fired, all the swimmers were out of the water and accounted
for, including Redondo Beach, Ca. resident John H. Boland. Early in the swim
Boland, 53, was tragically discovered unconscious
and not breathing; he was pronounced
dead a short time later. The cause of death has not been determined.
With their Utah premiere
plans in a heap, race organizers changed Ironman Utah to a 65-mile-bike
and 13.1-mile-run duathlon. The 41 pros were restarted on the bike leg in
15 second intervals. The age groupers followed in 3 second intervals. All
but about 100 of the original starters continued on, including eventual
women's pro winner and Xterra veteran Jenny Tobin.
Amidst a mix of emotions
from frustration to relief and grief to elation, this Ironman saw something
else totally unexpected--no one finished after dark.
North America pulls the plug on Ironman Utah
North America President Graham Fraser announced August 31 that
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho will replace Utah as an Ironman host.
Utah will be the site of a half Ironman in 2003. The Coeur d'Alene
race will be held in June, 2003.