March 11th marks the one year anniversary of the Tohuku, Japan magnitude 9.0 Earthquake. According to Wikipedia, the World Bank labeled it the most expensive natural disaster in history with damage estimates approaching 250 billion dollars lost. Currently,there are islands of debris floating in the Pacific headed east, some as large as 70 miles. The photo below made it's way around the Internet as the tsunami hit Hawaii. The photo is of normally tranquil Kailua Bay, and we should be able to see the Kailua- Kona pier to the right. The pier serves many functions during the race as the transition area, location of the medical tent, etc. However, the bay now filled with water, has submerged the entire structure save the light poles and green tents. Looks like they were lucky to get all the boats somewhere else. Compare this to the following pair of pictures I took during race week showing what's supposed to be seen near the green tents.
The view above is from the opposite side of the pier from the original water filled image after bike inspection and check in on Friday evening before the race.
There was considerable water damage to the bay front stores and the Ironman Headquarters Hotel, King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. But, in the 7 subsequent months...and a significant financial outlay I'm sure, everything looked terrific for the race. When walking through the lobby of the hotel, the Ironman Store and Race office, all appeared fresh, clean and attractive.
The point of this report is to remind us that race participation is a privilege, not a right. This is a time of year where we are all planning our racing season and just because we put it on our calendar, there may be a host of reasons why we may never toe the start line come race date. Yes, including tsunamis.
Just make sure that a preventable injury isn't one of them.