The Golden Ticket: On Declining My Kona Slot(s)

Golden Ticket

Do you remember the triumphant scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in which Charlie, our protagonist-full-of-wonder, unwraps his Wonka Bar and–against all odds–finds the fifth and final golden ticket?

The emotion in that scene approaches the feeling I experienced last year when I crossed the IRONMAN New York finish line, having secured my Golden Ticket–a qualification for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

MMRF on Podium

My 2012 trip to Kona was every bit as magical as Charlie’s trip to the Chocolate Factory. I finished top 10 in my age group and tasted of a competition so sweet it left me craving more. Just check out the finish line leaps in the video below:

My only regret was that I couldn’t share that finish line joy with my parents. As I was fighting Kona winds and heat on one side of the Pacific, my father was fighting cancer on the other.

In 2012, my quest for the Golden Ticket consumed my thoughts and dreams in each training session and in each race plan. This season started much the same, until a trip home for Father’s Day changed my calculus.

Father's Day 2013

Knowing that my father couldn’t make it to Kona again this year, my heart just wasn’t in another race on the Big Island. Better to spend the vacation days and cashflow, I reasoned, on Vegas 70.3 in September and IRONMAN Arizona in November, both driving distance for my parents and chemo-friendly for my dad.

So when I earned not one–but TWO–Kona slots (one as the MMRF‘s top fundraiser and one as an age group athlete) at IRONMAN Lake Placid, I felt at peace with my decision to let them roll down to the next deserving athletes.

At some point down the road, I hope to have another shot at Kona.

But I only get one shot at daughterhood.

Plus, I won the true Golden Ticket the day I was born to these two lovebirds.


A Young Poppy Tony and Moo-Moo

Click here to learn more about Team Poppy Tony!

Dad and Mom

My parents’ approach to pretty much every day of life

30 responses to “The Golden Ticket: On Declining My Kona Slot(s)

  1. Beautifully written Kendra. Such a special family

  2. Love love love you!

  3. You are amazing, Kendra. Thank you for your inspiration.

  4. You have a beautiful soul Kendra!

  5. Great reminder on what is the real priority; well done. Kona will come your way again!

  6. Daughterhood …. Honored to have you as our daughter.
    See you in Las Vegas and Arizona.
    Mom+Dad(Moo+Poppy Tony)🚲🌊👣💜✈

  7. Love this, KGo! Your family (y hasta tu familia del Cuerpo de Paz) is so lucky to have you!

  8. ANOTHER reason why I love you and your amazing attitude! Your parents are blessed to have such an amazing and appreciative daughter!!!

  9. Gran actitud Kendra!! Espero que tu papa se ponga bien rapido, un beso, Martin

  10. Kendra- you are so amazing! We love reading your stories ( make us cry every time) you are truly a inspiration to everyone. Good luck and hope to see you soon. Hugs and kisses Love, Marcy,Michael, Anthony and Elizabeth

  11. You always have your priorities straight…that takes strength, clarity and a degree of selflessness. So psyched to race with you in Vegas as your beautiful family is cheering you on and celebrating with you!

  12. Hi Kendra! Thanks for “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say on your Race choice. Your Dad and Mom should be proud. What I remember from reading that book as a kid is that the flashy kids and parents who lost perspective got nibbled by squirrels or washed down the chocolate river. Whereas the one who at first appeared vulnerable and poor was in reality well-grounded and enriched by his solid extend Family.

    I think you made a great personal choice! Very best of luck in your Races, both on the course and in the priceless memories with your Family!!

  13. It sounds like you absolutely made the right decision — will be thinking of you and your family as y’all take on an even tougher challenge!

  14. I can’t wait to see how you do! It is so awesome that you found races that work better for your parents. I know they’re so proud~

  15. Pingback: FOMO | The Adventures of ChiTo and Kgo

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  17. Pingback: The Raw Race Report: Ironman Lake Placid 2014 | The Adventures of ChiTo and Kgo

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