Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels

We camped out just past the Kona finish line as the sun was setting to ask athletes one question: What fueled you to the finish? Their answers were funny, heartbreaking, and totally candid. All photos by Danny Weiss.

Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
2345 – Moya Johansson | 27 | AUS | 10:35:42

My family. I felt horrible all day. They got me through to the end.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1967 – Carrie “Cat” Heidrich | 38 | Alabama USA | 10:40:12

My pop died a week and a half ago and he did it. He got me through.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1126 – Ricardo Caiuby | 46 | BRA | 10:36:01

My two boys who are 9 and 10, Gabriel and Joao.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1099 – Magnus Andersson | 46 | SWE | 10:52:22

Just pure determination. I had a really bad run, issues with my stomach. I didn’t want to quit. It’s the first time I did this–I worked seven years for this. It’s just life-changing. I was in a bad place in my life and it was my goal. I never thought I could do it–I couldn’t swim seven years ago!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
806 – Gill Fullen | 54 | GBR | 10:45:11

Channelling all the wonderful people I’ve been with these last two weeks in Hawaii. All my squad back at home. It’s been a long time coming. [A friend interjects that she has one breast, and she holds up her F*CK CANCER bracelet.] I had the best race ever!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1974 – Emily Lanter | 37 | Arizona USA | 10:21:07

My five-year-old Thea!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
977 – John Potter | 53 | Pennsylvania USA | 10:24:51

Michelle and Nick! And Coach Roch Frey.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
2227 – Emma Wardal | 32 | GBR | 10:23:37

Inca, my black lab dog at home. I imagined she ran back from the Energy Lab with me today. And my husband at the finish.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1866 – Kazuhiro Miyamura | 39 | JPN | 10:43:58

Family and volunteers!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1020 – Zoltan Varga | 49 | HUN | 10:31:42

I just turned 50 this year and have been doing tris for 33 years. I did Ironman in the ‘90s then stopped doing them, then figured I’d come here and do it once before my second 50 years!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1546 – Olivier Lange |

My family and the sacrifices they’ve made for months so I could come here. (Translated from French)
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1130 – Darren Cole | 44 | CAN | 10:40:07

My wife, my kids. My training partners in Taiwan. I won’t quit. /
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1708 – Constance Mochar | 42 | AUT | 10:26:40

The beer in the finish! The faster I run, the faster I get my beer.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
2332 – Anastasia Chernenko | 28 | UKR | 10:32:48

My preparation before, and the volunteers who worked so hard.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
595 – Martin Gannon | 62 | GBR | 10:38:50

The training. It’s about the training. You dig deep. I love the race, I want to do it justice.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
705 – Mark Dooley | 55 | Pennsylvania USA | 10:41:23

My family. All 11 of them here–brothers, sisters, kids. And my coach. All of them.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1228 – Chin Tsai Lin | 49 | TWN | 10:47:28

On the bike the wind was difficult. The weather today is good! (Non-native English speaker.)
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
792 – Holger Wilmsmann | 54 | DEU | 10:49:27

It was a hard bike–windy. On the run the temperature was ok. Hot then cloudy. (Non-native English speaker)
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1131 – Juan Carlos Colin Fiche | 46 | MEX | 10:56:09

My son. He’s 19 years old.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1606 – Gregory Schaefer | 44 | New York USA | 11:04:21

These two guys! I want them to reach for the stars when they’re older and see what it takes. It takes hard work. There’s no easy way.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1279 – Leighton Rogan | 45 | AUS | 11:02:32

Pure determination and grit. And my family.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
769 – Robert Spina Jr. | 56 | New York USA | 10:57:57

My two daughters. They were here 18 years ago. Twenty years ago I crossed the finish line with them. Today it couldn’t come any sooner–I wanted to see them. I love this game. What a great day this was–what a struggle. What a surreal experience!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
969 – William (Bill) Owsley | 51 | Arizona USA | 11:08:33

I’ve got the coolest family in the world–they let me do this stuff. It’s not easy to do without support. My 10 year old niece, Presley, has Rett Syndrome. It’s a rare genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily. I wear her name in a purple heart on my tri suit for every race. And for this race, a purple ribbon and flower on my bike. Presley drove me to the finish line.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1689 – Katie Gollotto | 41 | New Jersey USA | 11:01:44

My family, my Ohana. My husband. My older son and my gender-neutral youngest. They’re 22 and 16 and they’re amazing. And my two German exchange students, too. They’re my German sons and I love them all to bits and pieces.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1943 – Laura Ballou | 35 | Illinois USA | 11:07:43

Just being here. It’s such an honor to be here knowing all my friends and family are here.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
2338 – Annie Frederick | 26 | GBR | 11:10:38

There’s a couple here doing their fifth one and I train with them. And my mom in England–she’s waking up now! I was thinking about her a lot. And a lot of cake!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
437 – Matthew Brumby | 41 | AUS | 11:54:19 | 1st, PC division

I had to get it done, I didn’t care about time or place.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1343 – Maria Remedos Carrasco Tavero | 46 | ESP | 11:16:21

Just for me! To be able to feel to the max, to feel all of the emotions. (Translated from Spanish.)
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
2391 – Paul Gregg | 23 | Hawaii USA | 11:44:55

I have a huge support crew because I live here. All of my family and friends were out here!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1013 – Hideki Toyokawa | 51 | JPN | 11:36:31

Cheering–very good! (Non-native English speaker)
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
1685 – Angela Fogarolli | 41 | ITA | 11:29:52

In my previous Ironman here in 2015, I was walking the marathon due to heat stroke I got on the bike. So my objective was to finish in style–no walking, just go easy, pick up the pace in the last 10 miles. I didn’t start my Garmin during the swim and that ended up being lucky because mentally it would’ve hurt my race–I was last out of the water in my age group, but I was able to win 15 places on the bike!
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
2447 – Eryn Schmisseur | 20 | Arizona USA | 11:38:09

The thought that there’s ice cream at home. And my entire family.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
439 – Jason Fowler | 44 | Massachusetts USA | 12:19:53

A lot of fear I wasn’t going to make the bike cutoff! I had some medical issues out there. I don’t know how I got here today. It’s my sixth time.
Ironman Kona 2019 Finish Line Feels
699 – Sylvain Croteau | 55 | CAN | 11:51:24

The feeling of love and gratitude for being able to be here. My family and friends. I feel privileged. Madame Pele might’ve played a role too.