Dan the man is now Dan the Ironman.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dan McDonald finished the 2009 Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on Saturday. The 42-year-old covered the course - a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run - in 15 hours, 28 minutes and 32 seconds.
McDonald placed 1,568th out of 1,778 competitors, and 241st in the men’s 40-44-year-old division. He finished the swim in one hour, 36 minutes and 48 seconds, the bike ride in 7:15:20 and the run in 6:12:22
Heading toward the finish line was a “remarkable experience,” McDonald said via phone from Hawaii on Monday morning. Huge crowds lined both sides of the road, with many of the spectators cheering him on by name.
“I could hear the PA announcer yell, ‘For his first time ever from Naples, Florida, 42-year-old Dan McDonald,’” he recalled. “As I crossed the finish line, he yelled, ‘Dan, you are an Ironman.’ It was really cool.”
Completing the Ironman in Kona, the world’s most celebrated triathlon, has been a goal for McDonald, who works in CCSO’s Crime Prevention Section, for more than 20 years.
The goal became a personal journey for McDonald, who used the experience to raise awareness about autism, a neurological disorder that has no known cause or cure. His 6-year-old son Terry was diagnosed with autism in 2005.
“A lot of people came up to me and told me they appreciated the cause,” he said.
McDonald said Monday that he was still a little sore, but otherwise feeling good. “Believe it or not, I was more sore when I ran the Boston Marathon (in April),” he said.
McDonald is enjoying his last few days in paradise before he returns to his job at CCSO. But it’ll be a brief break.
When he returns he’ll start training again for Ironman triathlon in Panama City on Nov. 7, which he signed up for before winning one of the 150 coveted lottery slots for Kona.
“Panama will be a fun day,” McDonald said. “I won’t have that pressure. Here, I had to finish.”
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