Choosing not to quit

Jeff Symonds pushes on during the Ironman World Championship despite his pedal breaking



The Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 10 didn’t go as Jeff Symonds hoped.

The two-time Challenge Penticton champion finished 23rd. Things went wrong for Symonds while riding his bike as one of his pedals broke.

“It was brutal. It was a tough section of the course, too,” said Symonds, who peddled the last 20 miles on one leg according to Get Out There Magazine. “There are some good hills on it. There is quite a bit of a head wind.

“The worst part was just the mental and crushing aspect of … feeling I was in a good position to have a good race and then all of a sudden you’re having to problem solve,” he continued. “Try to make due with that situation.”

He finished the 180-kilometre bike ride in five hours, four minutes and five seconds.

While Symonds knew he could quit, he chose to push on. Symonds said he didn’t quit for two reasons. First, he wanted to learn as much as possible, and secondly, he wanted to experience the heat of the run.

“I have always believed that if you are going through a rough patch, if you feel like quitting, just remind yourself that there is always more learning to be had,” said Symonds, who completed the 3.8-kilometre swim in 52:41 and the 41.1-km run in 2:50:15 for a total time of 8:52:18.”Racing is totally like that.”

Symonds continued to push to set himself up for next year. He also thought of the other athletes. He thought about the things they had to deal with.

“It’s just a legendary course. You just want to get to the finish line,” he said. “Just do that accomplishment. It’s the world championship.”

Symonds was happy with his performance given the things that happened. His only regret was spending a bit of time feeling sorry for himself.

“Feeling down in those first few miles of the run, if I hadn’t done that I could have had the fastest run or moved up a few spots,” said Symonds, who had the support of family and friends at the race.

The winner was Jan Frodeno from the Netherlands in 8:14:40. He completed the swim in 50:50, the bike in 4:27:27 and the run in 2:52:21. He was followed by countrymen Andreas Raelert, who clocked a time of 8:17:43. He finished the swim in 52:24, the bike in 4:30:52 and the run in 2:50:02. Rounding out the top-three was American Timothy O’Donnell in 8:18:50. He completed the swim in 52:24, the bike in 4:26:13 and the run in 2:55:46.