LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Your cheers made me feel like a winner
August 12, 2008 · Updated 5:18 PM
To the editor:
I wanted to say thank you to all the volunteers out there who helped organize and work the Whidbey Island Triathlon last Saturday.
From the kayakers who kept an eye on me as I zigzagged the long way through the swim course to the teenage girls doing a cheer for me in the woods to the little girl waiting for me at the water station, you all made an incredible impression of welcome to all of us visiting competitors.
This was my first triathlon, one of the things on my list of things to do before turning 40 (I’m 38), like going to Italy and climbing the rock wall at REI.
I was the last one to finish — I even got my own personal motorcycle escort to the finish and a volunteer ran behind me, giving me encouragement to keep going.
Each volunteer that I passed waited patiently and gave me encouragement and a “Good job!” as though I was first, not last. All those incredibly fit guys that passed me on the bike tossed encouraging phrases like “The downhill is just around the corner,” and “Keep going!” and “You can do it!”
There is something to be said to being last. I finished. I actually wasn’t afraid of finishing last — I was afraid of never starting.
I will come again next year, and hopefully with a little more training, will give someone else the honor of coming in last.
For all those out there who think they can’t do it — you really can. You won’t be first, you may even be last, but it is the most exhilarating experience and an awesome morale boost.
Thanks for all your hard work and encouragement!