Motivation, dedication, commitment, passion – these are the essential ingredients to a successful Ironman, and some of the key components St. Andrew’s College instills in its students daily.
It has been Keith Ramon’s dream for 10 years to race in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, and on October 10, the SAC teacher and Housemaster did just that. In an emotional Chapel presentation on Monday, Mr. Ramon shared his recent Ironman experience and all the hard work leading up to that one day. This triathlon consists of a 4km swim, a 180km bike ride, and 42km marathon.
There are two ways to qualify for the Ironman World Championship; the first is to set advancing times at other Ironman competitions around the world; the second is to fundraise for a charity in partnership with Ironman. It was the later that garnered Mr. Ramon his coveted spot. Over six months Mr. Ramon sent more than 600 emails to raise $30,000 for Save the Children, an organization committed to promoting children’s rights and providing relief and support in developing nations.
Onipa’a was this year’s Ironman theme, which means to be steadfast, established, resolute, and determined. This word is well-suited to the boys of SAC as they are encouraged to show grit and passion in everything they do, whether in the classroom, on the sports field, doing arts, or in the community. Mr. Ramon asked the boys to think about how they would incorporate Onipa’a into their goals.
He also shared with them a way to ensure their success: live life like Tarzan, keep looking for that next vine and grab hold. “Sometimes it may be easy to give up,” Mr. Ramon said, “but think long-term, have grit, and keep reaching for that next vine.”
Mr. Ramon credits his success to the support of his family, and in part, to the wonderful facilities afforded to him on campus. While he finds it challenging to train through the school year as he focuses on his students and boarders, the summer months are intense. His training regimen consists of swimming in Walden Pool, using his stationary bike and the adjoining neighbourhoods and trails, and running the Yuill track. He gets the opportunity to kick his training into gear in the spring term as the coach of the Saints Triathlon team, which he has coached for 10 years, most recently helping to train 2015 graduate Andrew Ladouceur for Ironman 70.3 Muskoka this past August.
It took Mr. Ramon 12 hours and 19 minutes to cross the finish line, around middle of the pack. Kona is the toughest Ironman with 2,500 competitors. Mr. Ramon described pushing through harsh ocean swells, running through indescribable heat across lava fields, and biking in aggressive winds. “Success isn’t always measured by the clock,” Mr. Ramon told the boys, “sometimes it’s just finishing.”
Story by Nicolette Fleming