Good luck to Elizabeth Thompson! I saw the Canadian this morning - I hadn't realized she would be competing here today.
I have written quite a bit about Thompson over the years - here's a column that I posted in 2009:
The fact that Elizabeth Thompson is alive is in some ways a miracle.
The fact that she managed to train for Ironman France is nothing short of amazing. The fact that she's off to Kona for the Ford Ironman World Championship? Dare I say “Proof that Anything is Possible?”
I first met Thompson a few years ago when I was coaching the University of Toronto's Triathlon Club. Our reunion in France a few weeks ago came along with a story that hit me like a brick. A year ago the Canadian was on holiday in Nice. She's an avid triathlete, having finished both a number of Ironman races and event the Ultraman in Hawaii. During that holiday Thompson didn't get a chance to watch the Ironman in Nice. Instead of hanging out and watching some of the world's best triathletes take on one of the most spectacular Ironman courses in the world, Thompson suddenly found herself fighting for her life in a foreign hospital – a couple of days before the event she had a stroke.
When she finally recovered from the stroke and was on her way back home, one of the doctors who had taken such great care of her in Nice took her aside.
“You have to do an Ironman again,” he said. “It's your life. You need to make sure you don't let this stop you.”
“He was treating the person,” Thompson says now, remembering those words, “Not the patient.”
Thompson took those words to heart. Throughout her recovery, she pushed every boundary given to her. When she was told she could get out of bed, she walked across the room. When she was told she could walk down the hall of the hospital, she did every one she could find.
A few days before Ironman France she walked back into the hospital here in Nice. She found that doctor and told him she was competing here at Ironman Nice.
“You better go easy,” he told her.
Thompson did just that – well, as easy as you can go and still complete one of the toughest Ironman courses there is.
She finished the race in 15:15. Not her fastest time. Not even close. But for a woman who has been crying all week – tears come pretty quickly when you realize that it wasn't just your pastime you almost lost, it was your life – the race was a true tribute to how tough Elizabeth Thompson is. Then, the next day at the roll down for the qualifying spots for the Ford Ironman World Championship, Thompson's dream comeback continued – she managed to get a coveted spot for Kona.
Originally from: ironman.com
Thompson would eventually be featured in the NBC coverage of the Ford Ironman World Championship - hers is a truly amazing story!
We'll keep track of her progress here today, too.