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Triathlon Movie Review–What It Takes

A friend gave me this movie last year and I never finished watching it.  I was in the process of trying to decide if I would do my first ironman in 2009.  Maybe the stories of the top triathletes running 60 miles a week, cycling 350 miles a week and swimming 18 miles a week left me wondering how I would ever find the time to train for an ironman.  After deciding to do the Transrockies Run this year instead of an ironman, I just finished watching What It Takes.

what-it-takes1This is a documentary about four world-class triathletes’ quest for greatness as they prepare for the 2005 Ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii.  These three Canadians and one Australian have six world championships between them.  Their stories chronicle an incredible commitment to the sport, with training regimens of up to 35 hours a week.  But it also reveals some costly personal sacrifices some of the athletes make to be the best in the world.  It’s a very human story.  A great movie for the winter training season.  Easy to watch while you crank out the watts on the trainer.

This is also a movie that helps promote endurance sports, which have simply exploded:
+ Over 400,000 people finish marathons in the U.S. every year.
+ Membership in USA Triathlon has more than quadrupled since 1997.
+ 2.2 million people tuned in to OLN to watch the final stage of the 2003 Tour de France.
+ Since the Ironman 70.3 series launched in 2006, the number of events has grown from 17 to 29.

So the real question to me is why are so many people like me interested in endurance sports?  For clues to this phenomenon, I am reading Dean Karanazes’ first book, Ultramarathon Man.  Stay tuned.

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