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Age of 75, Still Feels Young!

Posted August. 26, 2002 22:08,   


“It’s a sport deserving the challenge by young people.”

At the final point of 2002 Ironman Korea Triathlon held on August 25, at Chongjo Lake, Sukcho City, Kangwon Province. The game started at 7 a.m. Kim Hong-gyu (75, Seoul resident), one of the oldest participants, received a warm welcome when he finally finished all the legs at around 11:20 p.m., 16 hours and 21 minutes and 14 seconds after he started.

In this event which consisted of 3.8km of swimming, 180 km of cycling and 42.2km of marathoning, 827 athletes from 18 countries including Japan, Australia and Canada participated. 700 athletes out of all the participants including Mr. Kim finished up all legs without giving up in the middle. The family members of the athletes did not leave the final goal by around the midnight and applauded their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters for their unyielding spirits.

Mr. Kim has participated in the triathlon ever since 1983. From the age of 17, he honed his physical fitness through boxing. To join this game, he has built up his strength by running through the half of the full legs: 2km swimming, 60km cycling and 20 km marathon. Then he challenged at the full course this time.

Mr. Kim is a used-car dealer in Changahn Dong, Dongdaemoon Gu, Seoul. He said, “Triathlon stretches me to the extreme. That is why I feel attracted by it. I will keep participating until the age of 80.” Mr. and Mrs. Hong finished their long journey hand in hand in 15 hours and 45 minutes at around 10:45 p.m.

Mr. Hong’s shoulder got displaced when he fell while cycling. But upon his wife’s urging and supporting, he fixed his shoulder with bandage and continued. Finally, he finished up the full course.

“For the past two years, I have stretched myself thin to participate. I could not give up, making all of my sweats nothing. That’s why I could finish it up.”

Mr. Hong, chairperson of a body representing married triathlon athletes in Kwangjo, said, “I’d like to prove the old saying to my children, ‘Sound soul in sound body.’ That is why our couple started this together. Undergoing hard training together, we two have got to understand each other better and love more.”

The championship went to Reonard Tisink (28) from South Africa. He recorded 8 hours 59 minutes and 6 seconds. Spectators were also moved watching handicapped people like Bae Hyung-jin (19) and Japanese Kenzi (47) doing their best.