Heart stopping moments for friends and family (and a coach) as pharmaceutical sales rep Pamela Finney from California crosses the line with five minutes to spare at Ironman Arizona last month (18 November 2012).
The Oakland based, 44 year-old was attempting to overcome a disappointing DNF in her first attempt at Ironman in Nice, France the year before.
Aware of just how much this meant to Pamela, her friends and family gathered around their laptops to cheer her on via the Ironman Live feed.
Rough conditions meant the swim was slow but she made it with over 15 minutes to spare.
Then the fun began… as usual there were a few technical issues with the live feed. For a considerable amount of time during the bike leg there were no split times. For those watching it seemed like another DNF, but just as laptop lids were closing a split time appeared on the screen and hope was re-born.
The drama continued as Pamela pressed on narrowly beating two bike checkpoints at 76 miles (by 20mins) and 93 miles (by 4mins) to finally hit T2 with a minute to spare!
If this wasn’t enough, bringing us all even further to the edge of our seats promising early run splits began to slow to a walking pace and the final midnight cut-off was hanging in the balance.
The live feed again added to the drama by giving a final split time of 16h 11mins. This meant that with 3.2 miles to go and everything she had already been through, Pamela had to dig deep…and run!
For those watching it meant turning our attention away from the splits, and to the final nail biting moments live through the finishing time gantry as ‘The Voice of Ironman’ Mike Reilly welcomed home the final finishers to huge cheers from the local crowd. And then, with five minutes to spare Pamela thankfully turned the corner and was roared over the line in 16:55:54 to achieve her dream of becoming an Ironman.
Coach Toby says: “Completing an Ironman is hard enough, doing it in 17 hours takes a different kind of athlete. Such mental toughness not to step off the course and to keep going is what endurance sport is all about. Doing the training is one thing but if you’re not mentally tough enough then you won’t make it.
“When you’re at the back of the pack chasing cut-offs is extremely hard both physically and mentally. You have to come in under the checkpoint time but you can’t exert too much that it jeopardises your entire race. Maintaining her nerve when faced with such difficult circumstances was truly admirable. She’s an inspiration!”
For most people completing a single Ironman is enough. But, Pamela is not ‘most people’.
Buckle up everybody…
“My plan for 2013 is to train hard and complete Ironman Nice on June 23rd which is also my birthday! I attempted this race before and didn’t complete it and am going back for some retribution so I plan on taking my experience from 2012 and using it to the fullest to complete Nice! I’m very much looking forward to the whole adventure of it too!