Jeff Conine, Mr. Marlin, achieved what he set out to do in Hawaii.
Mr. Clutch came through "in the toughest race of my life" at the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
With his wife Cindy, three kids, parents and in-laws waiting for him at the finish line, former Florida Marlin Jeff Conine, 42, of Weston completed his first Ironman late Saturday in 14 hours, 43 minutes and 45 seconds. He is the first finisher to also have played in the major leagues.
It was the first time Conine did all three disciplines in one day at the Ironman distance.
The course was a 2.4-mile swim (1:32:41), 112-mile bike (7:35:47) and 26.2-mile run (5:13:56).
Conine was 1,499th among a field of 1,731. There were only 97 who did not finish.
Even better Conine accomplished what he set out to do: raise awareness and funds for the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines as a tribute to his friend Howard Zimmerman, who lost his battle to cancer in November.
He bettered the finishing time of Marlins President David Samson, who completed the 2006 Ironman in 15:36:44.
Somehow the part about bettering Samson's time doesn't surprise me at all.
While the Niner did something I would never consider doing. (For some reason drowning in the first leg of the event has never appealed to me. Go figure.) He wasn't the only one from South Florida to compete in the competition.
Carol Hassell of West Palm Beach won her age group and was the top local woman finisher in a career-best 11:52:50.
Other local finishers:
Brian Monaghan, Coconut Grove9:36:38; Dean Warhaft, Miami 10:44:01; Shayne Macherowski,Boca Raton 10:47:23; Racheal Wood, Deerfield Beach 12:26:24; Robert Whitmore, North Palm Beach 13:03:50; Robert Anderson, West Palm Beach 13:07:39; Martin Hynes, Oakland Park 14:40:13; Neil Bayer,Coral Gables 15:22:58; Joseph Marx, West Palm Beach 16:02:46.
Congratulations to Jeff and all the other South Floridians!
Job well done!