5 Sep 2013

Mt. Tremblant Victory Speech

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First I want to thank Doc, Alex, teamTBB, and all our amazing sponsors who allow me to continue to race and train for a living! Here is my speech after my win at the North American Championships in Mt. Tremblant!

I’m going to attempt to speak French now. Promise me you won’t laugh.

Bonjour. Merci pour faire une grande course dans cette belle ville. Felicitations, vous etes Ironman!

I apologize to the French language for that.

Wow, yesterday was hard.  But, that’s why we’re here, right? Ironman is supposed to be hard. Everyone in this room does things that most normal people wouldn’t do. Things that most normal people don’t think are possible – Let’s face it, things that most normal people don’t think are sane.

But, you are not normal people. You are an Ironman.

And becoming an Ironman is not just a hard day. It’s a hard year.  Every day, you all have plenty of reasons to give up. To sleep in. To skip that long run. To drink a bit more wine.

But, you don’t. You push on.

When I was 26, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and I was told I would never run professionally. But, my family believed in me. My coaches believed in me. And, almost 10 years later, I’m here. I didn’t give up.

Early this year, when I was sidelined with an injury, attacked by a dog and then thrown from my bike at Ironman France into a ditch, again, the people in my life rallied around me, encouraged me and told me I could still be great.

And maybe that alone is what’s most important part of being an ironman. It’s the people that support us – and INSPIRE us – that make that finish line feeling so special.

Because you’re never alone in an Ironman.

Yesterday, thousands of complete strangers lined the streets for hours, screaming at all of us. That inspires me.

I recently met a man from here in Canada who has volunteered at more than 80 Ironmans around the world, including six last year alone. Volunteers inspire me.

And no matter how hard each of us are working out there, it inspires me to see the support we give each other on the racecourse. Whether that’s cheering on a top pro or encouraging a struggling athlete, WE inspire each other.

But, perhaps the most credit goes to those who endure our crazy antics on a daily basis. My parents, Kathy and Steve are here today. And if you get a chance to talk to them, they’ll tell you stories about driving me an hour each way to swim practice at 5am or tolerating me when I got in trouble for breaking IN to school to use the pool on vacation.

And my husband will tell you that we’ve never had a vacation that didn’t involve a seemingly endless search for running trails and pools.

The great thing about Ironman, is you don’t leave all that inspiration out there on the course. You share it with the people around you. And you bring all those people across the finish line with you.

So, thanks to all of you for making our sport special and thanks to the people around us that making what we do – however crazy it might be – possible. 

Mary Beth Ellis

Mary Beth Ellis

MBE is a 7-time Ironman Winner and holds record for Fastest US Ironwoman as well as Fastest Ironman Debut time with her first Ironman in Austria in 8:43.  She has set 5 Ironman Course Records with her most recent in Ironman France in June 2013. Prior to moving up to Ironman, MBE twice was 2nd in the 70.3 World Championships and collected a Pan American Championship and won Escape from Alcatraz.  The focus of her 2013 season will be the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

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