New Jersey’s Ironman Triathletes – Our True Olympians
Tonight at 11, I'll be doing the "Hour of Incredible"...spotlighting 4 triathletes from New Jersey taking part in the Ironman Triathlon this coming weekend.
A couple of weeks ago, you may remember I told you
that I had the pleasure to meet Laura DeMeo of Brielle. Laura's going to be taking on the Iron Man Triathlon.
You’ve probably seen what all is involved.
A grueling swim, bike ride, and topped off with the running of a marathon.
This years event involves a 140.6-mile race including a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River, a 112-mile bike ride on the Palisades Parkway in Bergen and Rockland counties and a 26.2-mile run beginning in New Jersey and finishing in Riverside Park in Manhattan.
Laura has partnered with Showerman of Manalapan to raise money for the various charities for which she's competing...which are Make A Wish Foundation, Kick Cancer Overboard and the I Will Foundation.
She recently ran a half marathon which she said she trained very little for, and she ended up coming in sixth in her age group.
And this time around, she said, "I thought I would coordinate with Showerman, and build their logo while raising money for a few charities."
Showerman is a custom frameless shower door store in Manalapan, with a squeaky clean superhero as its logo.
Mark Balaban, President of Showerman said. "It's a super hero type thing she is doing," "It's something that, out of billions of people, only a few people are capable of."
Here are just a few of the others:
Another team from Central Jersey is in part inspired by one of its members — John Hyland.
… “In April of 2010, Hyland was diagnosed with leukemia According to the spokesperson, before being diagnosed, John was quite the athlete having completed eight Ironman races,” she said. “When presented with the opportunity to race again in one of these events while raising money for the charity that helped save his life, John immediately made his commitment.”
The team also is participating in memory of Kayla Defeo.
Still another - from Williamstown is seeking to become the 'Ironman'…and this is to celebrate a new lease on life after having lost 113 pounds.
Dan Seifring is his name. And according to this:
Back in 2005, the Williamstown resident weighed 330 pounds, and the father of three knew he had to get healthy.
Seifring then lost 113 pounds, dropping to about 215 pounds, and regained his fitness through a series of 5K races and triathlons. He’s now facing his first Ironman competition, on Aug. 11 in New York City.
Seifring says his biggest concern is finishing before the midnight cutoff time. The race will begin in the morning, with all athletes expected to have started the swimming event by 7:30 a.m.
These are folks that make you think….if they can do it…why shouldn’t I!
And it doesn’t matter what your station in life is.
Kinda makes you want to get off the couch and run a few laps.
Another competitor, this one from North Jersey, with a compelling story.
Joe Bellantoni of Kinnelon has something to celebrate.
He had been placed in a medically induced coma for 10 days due to the fact that:
Bellantoni’s face had been crushed in a catastrophic 2007 car accident in West Milford. He had broken two vertebrae. He fractured every rib on his left side in two places, puncturing a lung. And his tongue had been severed, as had his left arm above the wrist.
But despite facing less than a 30 percent chance of survival — and despite having stopped breathing twice right there on Route 23 — the Kinnelon resident awoke from the medically induced coma.
And when he did, his doctors unexpectedly discovered he was blind.
But his story did not end there. Instead it began anew.
He embraced the life he almost lost, finding an outlet in endurance races. He has run five marathons and six triathlons, tethered to volunteers from Achilles International, an organization that trains and guides disabled athletes.
And Saturday, Bellantoni, 50, seeks to finish yet another event, the inaugural Ironman U.S. Championship.
Bellantoni is more than alive. He’s living.
And he infuses in us the thought that anything is possible.
In my mind, the Olympians in London have nothing on these 4 Jerseyans.
And they’ll be competing right in our own backyard.