It was 35 years ago today that Julie Moss collapsed just short of the finish line at the Ironman World Championship. Kathleen McCartney would run past her to take the title, but Moss' courageous effort helped define the sport of triathlon.
February 6, 2017 | PERSONALITY|
As she tried to reach the finish line she was running out of gas. Fuelling on water and bananas alone for a full-distance event would be unheard of these days, but in 1982 there weren't many other options. As she neared the finish line, well in the lead of the Ironman World Championship, Julie Moss collapsed.
"It took all my focus just to keep my body working," she remembered in an interview I did to mark the 20th anniversary of that day. "The image was that I was pretty out of it, but it was taking all my focus just to keep going. I had to concentrate so much on how I placed my foot on the ground. If I was off by a bit, my leg would just buckle."
"It wasn’t so much pain as a feeling like my legs were falling asleep," she continued. "I kept trying to figure out how to get up … I kept thinking about how I could use my arms to help me, because they were stronger than my legs."
Just 100 m from the line Moss fell again. Determined to run across the line, she tried to pick up the pace rather than just walk to the line. She would slow to a crawl and eventually be passed by Kathleen McCartney, who had been in second place for much of the day. .
To this day there are triathletes who remember seeing the dramatic footage on ABC's Wild World of Sports and decided they had to try this crazy sport.
Today marks the 35th anniversary of the dramatic race. Their experience made Moss and McCartney inseparable parts of our sport's history. The two competed together in Kona in 2012 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their momentous race.
It's hard to believe that 35 years ago two college students would change the course of triathlon's history.
Check out some of the inspiring videos of their amazing exploits here.