Still, despite the cold and rain, there were victories—more than expected, actually. New Zealand natives Callum Millward and Matty Reed made Ironman history when they crossed the finish line together in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 18 seconds. After three hours of deliberation, both were awarded $10,000 winner's checks. In the women's race, Jodie Swallow of Great Britain finished at the head of the pack, with a time of 2 hours, 29 minutes.
I've never been so cold in my life," exclaimed A.J. Baucco, a veteran Ironmanner from Ohio who remained at the front of the pack during the race. Baucco was the 24th person to cross the finish line. I've done a lot of these: New Orleans, Kansas, Mexico, fuck, you name it. And that sucked."�
Officials of the race concurred, even if they didn't describe the conditions in the same explicit terms. The race's biking portion was drastically amputated due to the chilling conditions and alarming headwinds, leaving 12 miles to pedal over, rather than the usual 50-plus. While this was done with the racers' safety in mind, not everyone breathed a sigh of relief in light of the decision.
As athlete Lynette Horton pulled through the 50-degree water, her sister Patty said, "When they took the bike off, we both started crying. All that hard work and its not really a full Ironman."
Baucco agreed, "I would have rather had a longer bike."
But spirits weren't irredeemably droopy, though, even with the race modifications. Even Patty said in a relatively chipper tone, "I told her, 'OK, you will have to do another one with me, but can we just do it someplace warm, like, I dunno, New Zealand or Cancun?'"/p>
Before long, the jangling cow bells amplified, grandmas and grandkids began swaying their hips along with the loudspeaker, and Tex, a dapper man in the crowd, egged it all on with impressions of Saturday Night Live skits:
"We need more cow bell!" he yelled.
Enthusiasm only increased as the race progressed into BODO. Amusing and absurd quips were scrawled onto posters that peppered the crowd. Top favorites included: "That's not sweat. It's your fat cells crying," and "My mom is hotter than your mom." The former came with red-and-orange paper mache flames and four energetic kids, and the latter was crafted specially for racer Kim Sharmon of Washington, and signaled a shift in the race's initially beleaguered atmosphere.
Mother nature even took a hint, and the race ended on a rejuvenatingly sunny note. The amount of soggy and sobbing children dwindled and racers' bone-white bare feet and bluish lips returned to a color that didn't seem like they all stepped out of The Adams Family. As late afternoon crept forward, it was time for delicious hot bevys, blinding silver space blankets, and warm food from BODO's restaurants and local vendors. And maybe even a well-deserved nap.