IRONMAN Panama City Beach Offers Inspirational Athlete Storylines
5 Nov, 2021
The IRONMAN in Panama City Beach, set to run tomorrow, November 6, has not only a great setting but amazing storylines. Here are just a few:
OLDEST COMPETITOR AT FLORIDA
- Age: 84
- Address: Seymour, IN
- Topline Story: Kurt will be the oldest competitor in IRONMAN Florida.
YOUNGEST COMPETITOR AT FLORIDA
- Age: 18
- Address: Greenwood, IN
- Topline Story: Timothy will be the youngest competitor in IRONMAN Florida.
THE ONLY IRONMAN AND IRONCHEF
- Address:Las Vegas, NV
- Topline Story:Anthony is an IRONMAN already – he’s finished both IRONMAN Texas and IRONMAN Boulder. However, he has another rare title. Anthony is also an IronChef. In 2009, Anthony defeated Chef Masahuru Morimoto to become an official IronChef. To his credit, Anthony is the only IRONMAN and IronChef in the world!
OLYMPIC SOFTBALL PLAYER TAKES ON IRONMAN
- Age: 41
- Address: Sulphur, CA
- Topline Story:Jenni Finch is one of the greatest softball players of all time. She won the 2001 Women’s College World Series with the Arizona Wildcats, and she won gold and silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, respectively. She caught the triathlon bug after having her third child and now looks to continue her IRONMAN journey in Florida.
FINISHING THE ULTIMATE TRIATHLON AROUND THE WORLD
- Address:Hampshire, G.B.
- Topline Story:In 2014, James Ketchell completed the “ultimate triathlon.” He became the first and only person to have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully summited Mount Everest and cycled 18,000 miles around the world. When asked about his mindset for completing the ultimate triathlon, James said, “You can do much more than you think. What you originally thought was quite difficult often isn’t.” Now, James looks to complete yet another remarkable feat in finishing IRONMAN Florida.
DOUBLE-LEG AMPUTEE, PURPLE HEART RECIPIENT, AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
- Address:Duluth, GA
- Topline Story:Master Sergeant Cedric King entered the U.S. Army in 1995. On July 25, 2012 during his second tour of Afghanistan, Cedric was severely injured by an IED, causing permanent damage to his right arm and the amputation of both legs. He calls this moment his “finest hour.” Cedric received a Purple Heart award for his service. Since, Cedric is a two-time New York City Marathon finisher, a five-time Boston Marathon finisher, and an IRONMAN 70.3 finisher. He is now looking to complete his first full-distance IRONMAN triathlon. Cedric is also a motivational speaker, sharing his story of resilience with the U.S. Military, major league sports teams, and Fortune 500 companies. He has included his story in his 2009 book “The Making Point.”
2013 BOSTON MARATHON TRAUMA SURGEON TOES THE IRONMAN START LINE
- Address:Medford, MA
- Topline Story:On April 15, 2013, David thought he had given it everything he had finishing the Boston Marathon. About an hour after he finished, he had to find energy like he never had before. He rushed to the hospital and immediately began treating Boston Marathon bombing victims without know exactly what happened. However, he had seen similar IED bombing injuries hundreds of times as an Army trauma surgeon, so he figured out what might have happened. After two days of operations and meeting President Obama, David truly had given it his all. This past year, David suffered a cardiac arrest and has fully recovered. Now, he will be taking on IRONMAN Florida as his next big challenge.
FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO FINISH AN IRONMAN ON SIX CONTINENTS
- Address:Washington, D.C.
- Topline Story:Henry is the first African American to finish an IRONMAN race on six continents, including the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawai’i.
TIK-TOK FAMOUS DOCTOR SET TO CHASE HIS GOALS IN FLORIDA
- Address:Little Rock, AR
- Topline Story:With over two-million followers on the platform, Tommy is certified Tik-Tok famous. He documents his career as a pediatric resident physician and IRONMAN training. He will have most recently completed the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis race prior to IRONMAN Florida. His goals? Tommy hopes to qualify for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and break 10 hours for the full-distance IRONMAN.
- Tik-Tok: @dr.tommymartin
PUSHING AND PULLING HIS BROTHER FOR THEIR FIFTH IRONMAN
Brent and Kyle Pease
- Age: 38
- Address: Chamblee, GA
- Topline Story: Brent and Kyle Pease are a brother duo who compete in IRONMAN races together. Kyle was born with Spastic Quadriplegia and requires Brent’s assistance throughout the race. The two completed the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona together and haven’t stopped since. Brent believes that his brother’s mental fortitude will keep them strong and carry them throughout the IRONMAN Florida race.
COUPLE BEATS TERMINAL CANCER AFTER 20 YEARS THROUGH IRONMAN
Paula & Phil Switz
- Address:Spring Branch, TX
- Topline Story:When IRONMAN last checked in on Paula and Phil in 2016, Paula was completing her sixth IRONMAN race with her husband’s support. Phil had been battling cancer and melanoma for 20 years and was terminally ill. Phil and Paula would set goals, train, and race together, with Paula on the course and Phil on the sideline cheering her on. Fortunately, Phil is now cancer-free! Paula now hopes to complete her next IRONMAN in Florida.
WEAR BLUE; RUN TO REMEMBER DIRECTOR DETERMINED TO FINISH HIS SECOND IRONMAN IN HONOR OF HIS LATE SON
- Age: 49
- Address: Seattle, WA
- Topline Story: Ron is a Gold Star father who lost his eldest son, Sgt Seth Witherup (21 years old), in 2019 to PTSD while stationed in Iwakuni, Japan serving in the US Marine Corps. Ron and Seth even had a daily competition of who could burn the most calories in a day. They tracked each other’s progress on their Apple watches. Most mornings shortly after Ron would wake up he would receive a ‘ding’ on my watch letting him know Seth has ended his day and how many calories he burnt. Since he was almost a full day ahead of Ron in Japan serving in the Marine Corps, he knew exactly how many calories he needed to burn to beat him in their competition. In his early twenties, Ron ran four marathons but found the osteoarthritis pain in his knees to be too much to continue running. Determined to honor his son and work through his grief, he started training again, losing over 50 pounds, and ran the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon. He is now the Director of Operations for wear blue: run to remember a nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. Ron finished his first full-distance IRONMAN this summer at IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene, though did not have an official time or name announcement. He missed the time cutoff for the marathon, but finished the race anyways carrying an American flag down the finishing stretch. There, he received an IRONMAN medal for both himself and his late son. In addition, Ron is competing in honor of VMGR-152 who this just this past year had the hardest year a squadron can have. First was the sudden passing of the squadron Gunnery Sergeant, then the tragic midair collision killing all five aboard SUMO 41, and finally two months later due to PTSD Seth took his own life. Her wants everyone in VMGR-152 how much he loves and supports them. Ron appreciates everything they do to protect his freedom and for all the support they have shown my family these past 20 months.