Invasion of Ironman finally over

Local residents can finally come out from under coffee tables and behind couches where they’ve been hiding over the weekend.

Local residents can finally come out from under coffee tables and behind couches where they’ve been hiding over the weekend.

The Ironman triathlon, or what I like to call the invasion of the body thrashers, has left the building, the sidewalks and roadways it has inhabited for two weeks.

Every October several thousand members of masochists anonymous descend on Kona to run, swim and bike themselves into cardiac arrest.

I mean, have you ever seen the finish line?

Throngs of beer-sloshed fans are cheering as bedraggled runners stagger across the finish line looking like they have just been run through a Waring blender. Flailing around like puppets whose strings have been cut, arms dangling at their sides, gasping on the pavement.

A friend used to ask, “Have you ever seen a happy jogger?” That sums it up.

There are no happy triathletes, except maybe the four men and women winners and runners-up. The rest are miserable. It looks like a smile, but it’s a grimace.

And what’s with the numbers in black markers on their arms? Who sees those numbers? Why don’t they just draw a happy face on their arms? Or write aloha?

Actually, I believe the triathlon athletes are aliens from outer space.

No humans have bodies like those that materialize during the Ironman. They are perfectly formed, not one ounce of fat on them. Real humans are always a little fat. I am very human. These beings are from the planet Perfecto.

These strange skinny creatures suddenly appear in the aisles of supermarkets buying up all the health drinks with electrolytes, whatever those are. Orange juice, gone. Water bottles, gone. Tiger Milk bars, all gone. Alien behavior for sure.

They stay away from the Saimin and Spam, that clinches it.

And then those same thin beings appear on bicycles wearing bike helmets that sweep backward on their head looking exactly like aliens. That proves it.

Ironman has plenty of hoopla, underwear parades, 20-foot high Gatorade balloons, but when the race begins it goes from Ironman to Boring Man.

Thousands of people in the morning watching on the seawall, half on health drinks, the other half on their fourth Bloody Mary, waiting for the swim to begin.

Blam! The gun sounds and thousands of people, all but tw, have no chance of winning, jump into the water and start swimming.

After the first 10 seconds when the water looks like a million piranhas in a mad feeding frenzy, things calm down and get about as exciting as a fly walking on the wall or watching golf. Half the people wander away to order their fifth Bloody Mary, The other half have another health drink.

All the athletes ride out of Kona and we don’t see them again for seven hours.

So what good is this insane body-wracking event? Let’s see, the airlines make a fortune flying people here, Walmart gets a slight bump in health drink sales, hotels and B&Bs fill up, but few restaurants or local businesses are frequented.

Few triathletes ever walk into a restaurant for steak and potatoes. Burgers and fries are not on their diet. Very few buy dashboard hula girls or painted coconuts.

But if running the Ironman makes some regular Joe or Jane feel like a hero for the day, that’s the best reason of all for the big race.

As for me, I’m having a Bloody Mary and recalling the fond memories I had while hiding under my kitchen table all weekend.

Dennis Gregory is a teacher, artist and writer who mixes truth, humor and aloha in his columns. He can be reached at