August 2009

Ironman World Championship Kona

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ART founder Mike Leahy, DC, ART

As many of you know, I volunteer my services at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI. I am finalizing my arrangements for this October, gearing up for a week of ART (Active Release Techniques) and rehab treatments to fine tune these “triathlete machines” for the race of their lives. And, I mean machines! When we perform ART on the athletes, it’s similar to making a tiny adjustment in a race car, a little bit can go a long way. Occasionally, we get injuries that occur the week before the race in Hawaii, whether it be a cyclist biking into a suddenly opening car door, a cyclist getting hit by a car, a runner spraining an ankle, or an athlete sitting too long on a plane. ART is there to patch them up and get them back out on the course. We work every morning for the entire week leading up to the event.

Race Day is a long day for the athletes, as well as for ART practitioners. We start off the day at 5AM treating last minute injuries. Then we work the Transition 2 tent, between the bike and the run, performing ART on the athletes when needed as well as helping the athletes prepare for the run portion of the race. Finally, we head to the finish line and “catch” the athletes and then triage those who need immediate medical care. Nothing is more rewarding than having an athlete you treated all week having a PR finish and then giving you the most sweaty hug at the finish line. Makes you want to do an Ironman yourself (until you see the med tent.)

I found this video on You Tube of Julie Moss’ heartbreaking, yet inspiring finish of Ironman Kona 1982. Julie Moss’ incredible act of perseverance may have been THE event that sparked the popularity of triathlons. Take a look:

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