Cover image for Becoming an ironman : first encounters with the ultimate endurance race
Becoming an ironman : first encounters with the ultimate endurance race
Thom, Kara Douglass.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Halcottsville, NY : Breakaway Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
286 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1060.73 .B43 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An inspirational collection of oral histories about the experience of competing in one's first full Ironman triathlon. This is the ultimate test of endurance: a 2.4-mile open-ocean swim, a 112-mile bike race, and a full 26.2-mile marathon, all raced end-to-end in one grueling day.

In the style of First Marathons , this book is not a how-to or a technical guide: it is pure, heartfelt human experience. Each person's story is compelling and dramatic in its own way. Collectively, the stories are both instructional and uplifting--for anyone even dreaming of attempting this forbidding challenge. As one triathlete said, trying to recount his first race, "I have searched for a way to describe the indescribable. I feel as though I climbed a huge mountain, saw an incredible vista, and now am back on the ground trying to relate what it looked like. It's like trying to describe childbirth or God or making love."

These stories come from men and women of all ages and abilities. Some are stories from the champions, and some from those who could not even finish. Together they testify to all the joy and agony of the race; and they provide priceless personal advice on nutrition, equipment, clothing, mental preparation, emotional fatigue, terrain, and weather. An unforgettable ode to our fastest-growing endurance sport.

Kara Douglass Thom has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and currently is the editor of the Dallas Medical Journal. She is a freelance writer for Triathlete magazine and The Dallas Morning News . Her writing has appeared in Runner's World and Spirit magazine, among other publications.

Author Notes

Kara Douglass Thom has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and currently is the editor of the Dallas Medical Journal. She is a freelance writer with an interest in health and fitness topics and writes about triathlon in Triathlete magazine and on Her writing also has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Runner's World and Spirit magazine, among other publications

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

physical fitness proponents, an Ironman triathlon seems to be the ultimate exercise in masochism. It consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race, and a full marathon (a 26.2-mile run), all done in one day. This sport attracts only the most dedicated athletes, and it apparently provides the participants with a huge amount of satisfaction. This book is not a description of how to prepare for an Ironman triathlon but an oral history of the men and women who have participated in Ironman competitions worldwide.. Thom, contributor to Triathlete magazine, Runner's World, and the Dallas Morning News, has arranged the book according to the athletes' experience, such as first-time competitors, veterans of the early days of the sport, and, most affecting of all, physically challenged athletes. The participants' dedication and single-mindedness are truly inspiring. No matter what physical pain they endured, these athletes all say they would do it again. Highly recommended for all public and school libraries. William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

John CollinsKara Douglass ThomEd RankinTim Burgess and Susie BurgessMichael ArenbergKevin JermynJane FratesiRick OlsonLucie MartinPatrick ConnorTerry JordanLinda CoffinGordon Charles RossChris LeghBruce LynnJanice KingBrent LorenzenJoanna ZeigerKatja MayerTroy JacobsonTodd MurrayKaren SmyersBruce MurrayElizabeth JohnsonNorman LaidlawDick Hoyt and Rick HoytClarinda BrueckPaul MartinCarlos MoledaBob BabbittScott TinleyLyn BrooksBill BellTerence SweeT. J. MurphyKeith PeekJ. P. ReedMara BarthDakin Ferris
Forewordp. 9
Introductionp. 11
Fun-Core Finishers
Happy Birthday to Mep. 17
All in the Familyp. 27
Brotherly Lovep. 37
Earning the Ironman Degreep. 45
Never Say Never Againp. 55
A Decade of Dreamingp. 65
Too Close for Comfort
The Bride Wore a Finisher's Shirtp. 73
Ain't No Mountain Higherp. 79
Angels Seen and Unseenp. 85
Swim to Victoryp. 95
Date with a Lorryp. 103
False Startp. 107
Ironman Is an Evil Mistressp. 111
Three Hundred and Sixty Seconds Latep. 115
Fast Finish
Out of Darknessp. 121
The Long and Short of Itp. 127
Weighing In at Ironmanp. 135
Party On!p. 141
The Aura of Aliip. 147
Well-Deserved Brewp. 153
Golden Finish
Like Son, Like Fatherp. 161
Small-Town Girl Makes Goodp. 167
Ironvetp. 175
I Can
Born to Runp. 183
Delayed Gratificationp. 189
I Am Ironmanp. 195
The Making of a Herop. 201
The Early Years
Heaven Is a Rainbow Snow Conep. 209
Into the Mysticp. 217
More to Explorep. 223
Aging Gracefully as an Ironmanp. 231
Around the World
Survivingp. 239
One of Usp. 247
World's Hardest Vacationp. 257
The Best of Timesp. 263
A Long Workout Dayp. 269
Twice Upon a Full Moonp. 277
Afterwordp. 285