Former NFL Player Competes in the Kona “Super Bowl”
More than 2,000 athletes representing more than 68 countries and 49 states started the 2014 Ironman World Championship. One of those competitors was former NFL defensive tackle Don Davey who achieved his longtime dream and finished the grueling race with a time of 13:54:57.
“After 12 year journey, I finally got my chance to play in the Super Bowl. Crossing that finish line in Kona was the highlight of my athletic career.”
After he retired from the NFL, Davey began his triathlon career with shorter-distance races and then, in 2005, he increased his mileage and competed in his first IRONMAN in Wisconsin (most appropriate for a Badger). Since then, he has completed numerous IRONMAN competitions including the Frankfurter Sparkasse IRONMAN in 2012 where he missed qualifying for Kona by just 12 minutes. Of Kona, Davey said, “he wouldn’t stop until he got there.”
2014 is the year his dream came true. Davey received one the few coveted charity slots to compete in Kona because of his performance, dedication and community involvement.
Davey is an owner of several Firehouse Subs restaurants and an active supporter of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation (FHSPSF). The Foundation is dedicated to helping equip, educate and fundraise for public safety entities and has supported many first responders who are forced to work with outdated equipment and limited resources.
Hines Ward, former Pittsburgh Steeler, blazed the Kona trail for NFL players last year. He retired after 14 seasons in the NFL and as part of last years “got chocolate milk” campaign was sponsored for the race. This year’s chocolate milk sponsored competitor was Apolo Uhno. Ward, a friend of Ohno’s, said the Ironman is the hardest thing he’s ever done.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ward said, “Last year in Kona, I was just getting off the bike and the winner was just finishing. The crowd was going crazy. It was so demoralizing. You’re just starting on the run and you see all these people finishing up. I was like, ‘Oh, geez, I still have to run a marathon.’”
While Ward has no NFL tattoos, he got a tattoo of the Ironman logo the day after the event. That’s a symbol of the impact the Ironman had on Ward and every competitor in the race.
Germany’s uber cyclist Sebastian Keinle was the overall winner today with a time of 8:14:18. At the finish line Keinle said, “I never thought I was going to win this thing. Three weeks ago I was going up to Hilo and … I couldn’t even finish the ride. I was so close to just flying home and stopping my career. But never judge your life because of one bad day. Judge it because of the best day.”
The field of competitors was vast and included eight-time Olympic medalist in short-track speed skating Apolo Ohno who finished with a time of 9:52:27; Italian open-wheel racing legend and Paralympic handcycle champion Alex Zanardi who finished in 9:47:14; and NASA and European Space Agency astronauts Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano, who finished in 10:15:11 and 12:33:42, respectively.
|7||Tim Van Berkel||AUS||8:23:26|
|8||Frederik Van Lierde||BEL||8:24:11|
Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae’s took her third Ironman World Championship with a finish time of 9:00:55. “Honestly I have no idea how I got that done,” Carfrae told the crowd after the race. “I just thought top five would be good. Then I thought top three would be great. They had me running scared the last four miles. I would’ve liked to have relaxed but there was no chance of that. I knew it would be a battle to the finish line.”
|9||Mary Beth Ellis||USA||9:20:46|
- While triathletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 have qualified to compete in the World Championship, the average age of 2014 age groupers is 43.5, well above the age average of professional triathletes at 33.7. The overall average age is 43.1.
- The United States is the most represented country with 777 competitors, accounting for nearly 35 percent of registrants this year.
- Athletes from 49 U.S. states are represented, with the greatest number coming from California (123), Hawaii (61), Colorado (58), Texas (48) and New York (43).
- Internationally, Australia has the most athletes competing with 297, followed by Germany (150), Canada (134), Great Britain (113) and France (88).
- 72 percent of participants (1,570 athletes) are male.
- 28 percent of participants (625 athletes) are female which marks the largest female field at the Ironman World Championship
For more follow on twitter @Melissa_PPI and @Davey919992
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