Ironman Cozumel – De Lille Sports SUP Support
Cozumel Island, Mexico, hosted its tenth Ironman competition on 24th November 2019. The grueling course consists of three stages; T1 – 2.4m (3.8Km), T2 – 112m (180Km), T3 – 26m (42Km). These athletes are machines for whom I have huge respect.
I was invited by De Lille Sports to be a part of their SUP (Stand-Up-Paddle) support crew in the swimming stage, T1. We arrived at Chankanab at 5.45 AM, and after a few brief instructions, we entered the warm Caribbean water, on a perfect winter’s day on our SUP boards and paddled out to our designated buoy. Along the swimming course, buoys are placed every 100 meters. The objective was to provide support to the 2000 athletes if they were in need, adjusting their goggles or caps, or letting them rest on the board, and of course, encouraging them to finish.
While waiting for the athletes to reach your buoy, there is not much to do but to sit on the board and wait. Some people might say, “That is boring.” It is anything but boring, being on the ocean and watching the sunrise over the land gave me unimaginable peace, time to reflect, and to talk to my Savior, Jesus. These moments don’t happen often and for some people – never, so I treasure them.
The first group of athletes, cut through the water effortlessly (well, that’s how it looked to me). The late middle to the last group of athletes it was a different story, and how I admire these athletes. Not only was it a long-distance, but they also had to battle the current, very choppy water and waves from the passing boats. There was a mass of athletes on both sides of the buoy swimming with all their might to get to the end of the T1 course. To watch some athletes struggling to finish, they were swimming, but it seemed as if they were going nowhere, was heart-sore, but they persisted, and I take my hat off to every athlete. Let’s remember they still had T2 and T3 to finish!
When the last athlete, exhausted, climbed out of the water, we the De Lille Sports SUP support crew exited the ocean – job done! Everyone had a story to share and had enjoyed themselves immensely.
De Lille Sports – Raul, Carlos, and Mary – I am honored to have been a part of such a well-organized event, excellent communication, and atmosphere throughout the Ironman and also leading up to the event. Thank you, can I please join you again?