IRONMAN Champions Overcome More Than the Race

December 6, 2017
Updated 4mo ago

The IRONMAN World Championship was held on October 14th in Kona, Hawaii. The race, which is regularly considered the toughest competition for civilians in the world, was filmed by NBC and will air on the network this Saturday, December 9th. Ahead of the special, three of the competitors stopped by Cheddar to explain their race and the journey they made to Hawaii.

Mike Ergo overcame addiction and depression to race in Hawaii. The former Marine served time in Iraq, and was involved in the Second Battle of Fallujah, the bloodiest battle of the Iraq war, and the heaviest urban combat for Marines since the Vietnam war. Over the course of one month, Ergo said goodbye to 29 of his brothers. This experience haunted him for years. But with the support of his family, his new children, and the promise of an IRONMAN, Ergo was committed to running for his fallen brothers.

Mike Levine ran his first triathlon nearly four decades ago, and at 68, he's competing in another IRONMAN. This time, two things are different. One, he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and two, he trained and competed with Kathleen McCartney, the 1982 IRONMAN winner. Levine credits McCartney and training for both giving him the zest to compete, and to work past cancer.