You Are An Ironman: A Good Read

Have you read a good book lately? I did!

I was lucky to get my hands on an advance copy of a book that is only scheduled to be released tomorrow, September 19. And was I really thrilled! You see folks, another one of my favorite hobby – aside from running and mtbiking, was to read! I read almost everything I get my hands into. So when Viking and Penguin Books publisher, Yen Cheong emailed to offer me a complimentary advance copy of the book “You are an Ironman” by Jacques Steinberg (New York Times reporter and author of a bestselling book titled “Gatekeepers), all I had was a few moments of hesitation and after that, I confirmed with a yes!

As everyone who reads this blog know, I have never tried being into the sport of triathlon. But I am too curious as to why more and more runners are being inspired to go into multi-sport, even with the thought that this is a pretty expensive and time-extensive sport. The book, when I said “yes send me a copy” to Yen, might be able to give me valuable insights on why this is so.

“You Are An Ironman” is not a “how-to-be-a-triathlete” kind of thing nor is it a book that will prepare one in joining an Ironman race. The book, as the official release says, “creates a compelling and suspenseful portrait of six people pursuing this life-defining goal: a 2.4-mile swim (the equivalent of about 175 lengths across a typical, 25-yard community pool), followed by a 112-mile bike ride (the length of the trip from New York City to past Philadelphia), followed in turn by a 26.2-mile (marathon-distance) run—all of which must be completed in no more than 17 hours”.

Simply put, the book aims to inspire everyone by sharing “true-to-life” experiences of six people, not elite athletes, in their quest to finish an Ironman race which in this case was the Ironman 2009 in Tempe, Arizona.

And was I truly inspired! While reading I got really awed with the stories of 

Tom Bonnette

Tom Bonnette, a 42-year old high school English teacher whose primary reason for joining was not only to prove to himself that he was capable, but also because he intends to set an example for his three daughters and to be a role model for his students that “we can do all what we set out to do if we prepare ourselves AND NOT GIVE UP”. 

Bryan Reece

Bryan Reece, who at 47 had a life-changing experience at the hospital having been told that he was a “heart attack waiting to happen”. He was busy at work, overstressed, overweight, oversedentary and overwhelmed and said that he did the triathlon to “save my life”. 

Tracy Tucker-Georges

Tracy Tucker-Georges, a 42-year old nurse, married with two daughters and owned a Trek Malone road bike named Penelope;

Seth Cannello

Seth Cannello, a fitness director at an Air Force Base and a testicular cancer survivor so much like my favorite, Lance Armstrong.

Laura Arnez

Laura Arnez, a 46-year old former social worker and a mother of five who found that her Ironman training was an affirmation of the bottomless capacity of the human spirit – not just to endure but also to love.

Scott and Leanne Johnson

Scott with his wife Leanne Johnson who met each-other in an online dating site It is worth-noting that Scott was born with the deadly Cystic Fibrosis and was a double-lung transplant patient. 

After reading the book, I could say that I gained a bigger respect to triathletes with the kind of discipline and hard work they put into triathlon (and Ironman!) training. Although not all six were able to complete their Ironman quest, their stories as ordinary individuals targetting to accomplish a definitely no ordinary task are definitely inspiring. Just like what Seth Cannello said when his initially ambivalent and bordering to hostile wife was finally converted to a triathlon training nut, “I think Ironman is like the movie Pay It Forward. One does an event and it inspires another”.

I could go on and on quoting a lot of inspiring words each character has shared in this book but I will have to say that it will be best if one will be able to read it on their own. The stories are touching as they are at the same time fantastic. And I will have to say that this book is worth the time spent reading it. I know that with the running and cycling boom here in the Philippines, more and more enthusiasts will be challenged to venture into the world of multi-sport/triathlon. I may not be initially looking forward to doing one in the near future but who knows, with my running and mtbiking experience I can never tell how far off or how soon this future might be.

“You Are An Ironman” was written by Jacques Steinberg and published by Viking and Penguin Books. It is scheduled for release tomorrow, September 19.

Jacques Steinberg

Congratulations to Jacques Steinberg, many thanks to Yen Cheong and kudos to all the athletes featured here. I wish I could have my book signed by all of you someday. 🙂

For everyone’s reference you can view/download here the:

You Are An Ironman PRESS RELEASE
You Are An Ironman FACEBOOK PAGE
You Are An Ironman Author, Jacques Steinberg’s WEBSITE

*Photos and links courtesy of  Yen Cheong – Associate Director of Digital Media and Publicity, Viking and Penguin Books


One Response

  1. Thanks for the great review!! I would be happy to sign your book!!
    Dream big!
    Finish strong!

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