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Runnin’ with Rani: Kona’s Doi goes for a dozen at Ironman World Championship

October 6, 2017 - 12:05am

Two years ago I sat down for a chat with local software engineer and Ironman guru, Keish Doi, who had become known as Kona’s “Iron Machine” a few weeks before the 2015 Ironman World Championships.

At that time, Doi’s amazing athletic resume nearly knocked me off of my feet. Fifty total Ironman finishes, 10 consecutive Kona Ironman World Championships — and heading toward his 11th — an average of 5-6 Ironman races per year, and the honor of being the Big Island’s top finisher in 2014.

While we talked about his achievements within the realm of swim-bike-run, I found that what impressed me the most was Doi’s down-to-earth and very humbling attitude toward his accomplishments. Along with that, Doi expressed a genuine sincerity toward feeling fortunate and healthy enough to enjoy his passion for the triathlon lifestyle.

Everyone knows that training for a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run on a year-round basis is certainly not for the average Joe. But when Doi trains or competes, his enthusiasm for the sport never goes unnoticed. He always has a smile on his face.

With the fast approaching Ironman World Championships (IMWC) just a week away, Doi is looking forward to his 12th start at Kona’s iconic 140.6-mile distance that will also mark his 61st career Ironman finish.

And even now, his remarkable exploits in the world of triathlon still blows me away.

This past week I caught up to the speedy 50-year-old Kailua-Kona resident to discuss his passion for Ironman racing, a crazy summer challenge that he completed, being on the sidelines at last year’s IMWC, and advice to triathlon rookies.

Q: You previously mentioned that what attracts you to competing in Ironman is the “challenge.” Is that still the same or do you feel it’s something much more?

The challenge of racing and finishing an Ironman race is a good motivator, but the Ironman and triathlon lifestyle keeps me going. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to live healthy, meet great people throughout the world, and visit many interesting places. I hope to keep it going as long as I can.

Q: What do you feel is the secret to your success and consistency at the 140.6-mile distance?

The secret is to enjoy what you are doing. I think that is important for success in any part of your life.

Q: Was it true that you did something crazy over this summer — like completing four, back-to-back, Ironman races? How did that go for you?

I went on a four-week vacation in Europe visiting four countries: Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. I also did an Ironman in each country every Sunday. It was an incredibly fun summer and surprisingly the races went well. My finish times got faster each week: 10:42:44, 10:00:49, 9:52:05, and 9:45:35. Sometimes racing is the best training. Having fun and enjoying yourself is definitely the best recovery.

Q: What would an average training day look like for you? Do you ever take time off?

I try to swim, bike, and run every day. The distances can vary, but my most common workout is a 1.2-mile swim, 72-mile bike, and 9-mile run. I usually average around 6-7 hours a day. I don’t like to take time off unless I really need it. My travel days to and from races turn out to be good rest days.

Q: I believe last year was the first time that you did not qualify for Kona since 2005. Was it hard to be on the spectator side of the race?

I always thought that watching an Ironman from the sidelines was more difficult for me than racing. But last year, I had many friends racing, and I had a great time cheering them on. Watching so many people accomplishing something I have come to respect and appreciate was very special. Spectating or racing, Ironman is an extraordinary event that I can really enjoy.

Q: For those who will be competing at the IMWC for the first time, what advice would you give them?

Keep Smiling! Enjoy the day!


Aug 13: Ironman Hamburg, Germany (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run)

Keish Doi, M50-54, 9:52:05, Kailua-Kona

Aug. 20: Ironman Copenhagen, Denmark (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run)

Keish Doi, M50-54, 9:45:34, Kailua-Kona

Aug. 27: Ironman Coeur D’Alene (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run)

Jose Graca, M40-44, 9:33:12, Kailua-Kona, 2nd Male Overall

Sept. 3: Kauai Marathon (26.2-mile run)

Bree Wee, W35-39, 3:14:11, Kailua-Kona, 1st Female Overall

Sept. 3: Pier to Peak Half Marathon, Santa Barbara (13.1-mile run)

Jacob Head, M45-49, 2:26:13, Kailua-Kona

Sept. 9-10: Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Chattanooga, Tennessee (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run)

David Wild, M30-34, 4:35:48, Kailua-Kona

Keish Doi, M50-54, 4:52:16, Kailua-Kona

Michael DeCarli, M40-44, 5:10:24, Kailua-Kona

Dan Gampon, M18-24, 5:10:41, Kailua-Kona

Don Baldassari, M60-64, 5:24:10, Kailua-Kona

Glee Jewell, W55-59, 6:28:43, Kailua-Kona

Ingrid Hillhouse, W45-49, 7:30:46, Kailua-Kona

Sept. 24: Ironman 70.3 Superfrog, Imperial Beach, California (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run)

Daniel Piccuta, M60-64, 6:20:23, Kailua-Kona

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