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Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, October 13, 2000

I R O N M A N _ T R I A T H L O N

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Ironman competitor Norbert Theimer of Germany prices a
new bike under a vendor's tent on the lawn of the
King Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua-Kona.

Big Island Trilogy

Athletes from Hawaii and around
the world gather in Kailua-
Kona for the grueling
Ironman Triathlon

By Pat Bigold

The last time Heather Jorris of Honolulu took on the Ironman in Kailua-Kona, she clawed her way to the best finish she's ever had in the race.

That was in 1997 when she made up 30 places on the marathon run to finish 16th in the women's division in 10 hours, 37 minutes and 27 seconds.

Ironman Logo This year, as a newly turned pro and mother of a 2-year-old, Jorris will stand with more than 1,500 other finely tuned triathletes at Kailua Pier.

She is one of 62 Hawaii residents entered in tomorrow's 22nd annual Ironman Triathlon World Championship.


Bullet When: 7 a.m. tomorrow/
Bullet Where: Kailua-Kona, Big Island.
Bullet What: 2.4-mile ocean swim across Kailua-Kona Bay; 112-mile bike ride along Kona Coast to Hawi and back to Keauhou; 26.2-mile marathon from Keauhou to Keahole Point to Kailua.
Bullet Who: Some 1,500 athletes, ages 18-82, representing 50 countries and 50 states.
Bullet How much: $325,000 purse. $70,000 each to top male and female finishers.

Belgian Luc Van Lierde and Canadian Lori Bowden are back to defend their men's and women's titles. Van Lierde will be challenged by, among others, 1998 Ironman champ Peter Reid of Canada. He is Bowden's husband.

Switzerland's Natascha Badmann, who beat Bowden in 1998, also will contend for the women's crown.

The island entries range in age from 67-year-old massage therapist Bill Van Horn to 18-year-old student James Cotter.

The oldest triathlete is 82-year-old retiree Norton Davey of California.

Frank Ferren, one of 39 entries from Kailua-Kona, has done the most Ironman races of any Hawaii resident: 17. He did not finish in 1999.

"It boggled my mind when I first heard about it (Ironman)," said Jorris, entering the race for the sixth time. "I thought this is ridiculous. But then you find out it can be done."

A personal trainer at the Honolulu Club and former nonscholarship swimmer at Penn State, Jorris is one of just a few pros from the state who have ever entered the Ironman. Previous local pro entries not involved this year were Brent Imonen and Debbie Hornsby.

Asked how daunting it is to wake up on race morning and consider the odyssey ahead, Jorris said, "When it's your first one you're a nervous wreck."

But she said that fear is banished by experience. Knowledge of the course and what to expect at various stages is all the courage any contestant needs.

In her first year of competition since giving birth, Jorris tested her body at the New Zealand Ironman in March, coming in fifth among the pro women.

In May, she won the women's division of the 18th annual Keauhou Kona Triathlon. She has won eight of the nine races she has entered in Hawaii, including the Great Aloha Run.

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