Thursday, September 14, 2006
I will admit that I am a sucker for a good human interest story. I am especially vulnerable to those tales involving an indomitable will. Must be from watching "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" as a kid. *S*
The first year that I volunteered at the Cheesehead Ironman I learned the story of Frank Farrar. I was working one of the bike aid stations when I suddenly hear everyone cheering for one of the riders near the back of the pack. I asked one of my coworkers what all the racket was about and he told me "That was Frank". I obviously looked blank so he informed me that Frank was in his 70's and was by far the oldest Ironman participant. As always, there was a LOT more to the story.
At that time, 2004, Frank Farrar was 74. He is also the former Governor of South Dakota and a successful attorney. In 1992 he was informed he had terminal cancer and had maybe 6 months to live. His reaction? He started training even harder and now in 2006 he is still doing triathalons. Despite advancing age and bad knees he continues to participate. He has failed to complete the last 3 Ironmans in the alloted time of 17 hours but he never leaves the course until he is finished. I was there at 12:02 the other nite when the now 77 year old Frank once more failed to make the cut off. The cheering from a crowd of tired volunteers was INCREDIBLE. I hope I am half that tough.
Once more we see that the amazing thing is not how well the elephant flies, but that it flies at all.
Posted by mal at 4:10 AM