We set up a photo tent at this year’s Ironman 70.3 Oceanside to capture racers just after they crossed the finish line. In that special moment of elation and exhaustion, athletes completed the sentence above—and surprised us with their candor, humor and thoughtfulness. Most of all, they showed the power of triathlon to make us treasure our bodies for the extraordinary things they let us do, like covering 70.3 miles under our own power.
Photographs by Rob Hammer
Location: Canoga Park, Calif.
Occupation: Production truck engineer
“I used to be 256 pounds. Today
I’m 174 pounds. My dad had
a heart attack at 50 and that’s
why I do all this: to keep my
“I did it!”
Nicknamed “one-arm Willie,” Stewart lost his arm in a 1980 construction accident. He’s a four-time Kona finisher, a regular on the XTERRA circuit, and a Paralympic silver medalist in cross-country skiing.
“It can do amazing things if you treat it well. Recovering from physical and emotional challenges is hard, but I am doing it every day. Training and racing triathlon has saved me from myself.”
Location: San Tan Valley, Ariz.
Occupation: Plumbing engineer
“I was 250 pounds three years ago!”
Pavel Eduardo Tanasescu Catano
Location: Mexico City,
Occupation: Owner of a media monitoring firm
“Because it recovers like hell! I almost lost my arm. A truck opened the door, and it went through three months ago. I thought that I was not gonna finish this, but I did. I did. I’m very proud of myself.”
“It’s always surprising me. I treated my body like a dumpster and now it’s giving back to me very nicely. After years of abuse, it can do this and I’m very grateful for that. I was an addict for 15 years. I’ve been doing triathlon five years and I’ve been sober seven years.”