New York Times author Jacques Steingberg wrote You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon based on six athletes preparing for the 2009 Ironman Arizona.
The intro to the book is awesome. It really delves into what an Ironman event is all about and discusses why people go on the journey to get to the finish line.
I enjoyed the book because it was completely relatable. The book profiles six regular people through their ups and downs on their way to IMAZ.
These people aren’t professional athletes. They work. Some are parents. They battle injury. They battle health problems, family stress, and regular life stresses. They face their fears. And yet they maintain their goal: to make it to the Ironman and to cross that finish line to hear Mike Reilly announce, “you are an Ironman”.
I found I could relate better to certain athletes, and I enjoyed their segments in the book the best. I also really liked excerpts from some of the athletes’ blogs since it was their true feelings coming out.
Truthfully though, I didn’t love the book as much as I thought I would.
Although I really got into it towards the end when it was race day, I felt like the meat of the book was missing. Yes, their struggles leading up to the race were real. But I didn’t think it expanded enough on their struggles and the emotional battles that ensued.
For example, one lady tore her ACL and couldn’t get to the start of the race. The rest of the book didn’t even really touch on her again until the very end when they author realizes he lost touch with her and sees she’s competing in the 2010 race.
I would still recommend the book. It is inspiring in that everyday people work to achieve their dreams, no matter how far off they seem. (I think any non-professional athlete feels a sense of fear when they take the plunge to sign up for that one great race.)
It shows that courage is all you need sometimes to take the next step. It also shows how athletes at any caliber can become role models for others.
I think it would be a great read for anyone considering an Ironman. But, you can also check out any number of blogs and really get to know someone throughout their journey to their Ironman start line, whether it’s their first, fifth, or 15th shot at it.
Who is more inspiring to you- everyday athletes or elites?
Other book reviews: