There is no question the city of Madison has educated, hard-working and dedicated employees, but we can also celebrate their athletic ability and commitment needed to compete in the recent Ironman. The training that proceeds a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles on a bike and then a 26.2-mile marathon is incredible and I salute everyone who participated. It was another great opportunity to showcase our city. The Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau did another excellent job in accommodating the thousands of visitors that accompanied the event.
Many of you may have seen Rob Verhelst, he was the firefighter who ran the marathon in complete fire gear which weighs about 65 lbs. He was part of an amazing 911 First Responders Team, a group of dedicated first responders who competed and raised awareness and money for 911 charities.
Madison Police Captain Carl Gloede began organizing this team when the 2011 Ironman was scheduled to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attack on our country. Aside from Rob Verhelst and Captain Gloede members of the team included Police Officers Mike Beatty, Mindy Winter, Dave McCaw, Deanna Reilly, John Patterson, Angela Kamoske, Pat Green, Justin Adsit, Lorie Graham, Krista Verhelst, Heather Dzick and Linda Baehmann. They were joined by Michael Flores, Aaron Zamzow, Peter Matt, Chris Hauski and Laura Laurenzi of the Madison Fire Department.
Another city employee who has a great story is Ray Shane the Madison Park Golf Program Supervisor. He not only competed in this his 16th Ironman, he finished first in his age group and earned a spot in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in October!
Congratulations also go out to Steve Klett from the City Purchasing Department, to Dino Lucas a Waterworks Operator who competed in his 4th Ironman and to Gray Williams who probably had more time to train as he recently retired from Planning and Community Services.
Most of us would never consider embarking on the training needed to compete in an Ironman, but the dedication of these workers and the hundreds of other competitors could serve as an inspiration to all of us, to set a goal and dedicate ourselves to the training and work needed to reach that goal.