Ironman Ethan's Big Day!

Ironman Ethan's Big Day!

2013-08-28

On Sunday 18th August, long-term APOPO and HeroRAT supporter Ethan Herschenfeld competed in the Mont Tremblant Ironman contest in Canada for which he’s been training like mad, closely watched by APOPO. 

Here’s his story:

“The day began at 5 a.m. with the walk from my hotel to the start line where it turned out I was the only athlete of around 3,000 competitors not wearing a wetsuit.  I’m accustomed to outdoor swimming from my dips in the Hudson with New York City swim (NYC Swim).  That, along with the word ‘APOPO’ which I’d scrawled all over my body, got a lot of attention before I even jumped into the water and the voice of Mike Reilly, the official ‘Voice of the Ironman’ screamed out over the loudspeaker: "Hey! There's one guy without a wetsuit!! What does it say on his chest?  APOPO?  Should just say "I’m crazy!”

I had a great swim. A few minutes after the start, the sun peeked over the mountain. I was shooting to break one hour and I came close at around 1 hour, 4 minutes. Next year 55 minutes is my goal! 

The bike section was the big surprise. I was able to finish in 6 hours, 55 minutes, about an hour faster than expected thanks to a mix of adrenalin, a new aero-helmet (of course with APOPO written on it!) and the enthusiastic and amazing volunteers who supplied food and drink at rest stations. As I passed them, hundreds of people along the double-circuit 56km course shouted "APOPO!" since it was scrawled on my shirtfront and back.  Many other athletes said,  "Hey APOPO, you're the no-wetsuit guy! Nice job!"   My goal for next year is to shave an hour off the bike time by losing a few kilos!  Schlepping all that weight for so many hours really slows one down.

The 26.2 mile (42km) marathon went almost exactly as planned.  To spare my bones and joints I race-walk instead of running and I was able to keep my pace to finish in 5 hours 31 minutes.  My goal for next year is to get that down below 5 hours. 

During the marathon, another announcer Jacques singled me out on the microphone, shouting excitedly "Here's Ethan from Brooklyn, doing the race for APOPO… and their amazing HeroRATs!". The crowd went crazy when he explained what the rats actually do!

During the second round of the 21km course, the sun began to set over a lake, and a full red moon rose in the sky.  I thought once again about the tireless, hardworking, focused rats, as I had many times that day, and my attempt to emulate those qualities gave me the strength to keep pushing.” 

We at APOPO would like to express our gratitude towards Ethan and the effort he is making and wish him luck for future events. 

 

 


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