As reported in the Post-Gazette yesterday, Hines Ward was successful in his bid to become an Ironman.
Ward finished the grueling Kona World Triathlon Championship and its 2.4-mile open swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon in a little over 13 hours (13:08:15 to be exact).
Eric McElvenny, a Belle Vernon native and Captain in the United States Marine Corps who lost his lower right leg in combat in Afghanistan in December 2011 and a member of the Become One team with Ward, easily bested his teammate with a time of 11:54:29.
Seventy three-year old UPMC neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon, also a Steelers team doctor, finished with a time of 16:03:48.
I had the privilege of speaking with these three most impressive men and profiling them for the Post-Gazette on Saturday.
In speaking with Ward, one of his quotes that didn't make it through to the final edit was when he talked about noticing that Ironman competitors had a propensity to break down after crossing the finish line.
"All of the hard work and dedication from the supporting staff is so gratifying and rewarding," Ward said.
"I’ve watched DVDs of people crossing the finish and they just start crying and I couldn’t comprehend what that would feel like.
"Now I understand why people cry – it’s so much hard work.”
As you can see at the top, Ward, not one to hide his emotions, was likewise a little overwhelmed after completing such a monumental athletic endeavor.
You can follow Ward's journey from total novice to Ironman in the Become One video series, sponsored by Got Chocolate Milk.
Below is a photo of 73-year old Dr. Maroon finishing his eighth -- eighth! -- Ironman. I repeat, the man is 73 and finished his eighth Ironman. And just to reiterate, Capt. McElvenny only has one foot and did this.
If that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.