Looking back on 2015, we remember so many uplifting and positive stories from races around the world. From emotional wins and insurmountable challenges overcome to huge impacts on the community, there is so much good that happened this year. Here are seven of our favorites:
- Desisa Has a Redemptive Win at the Boston Marathon
Ethopian Lelisa Desisa won the 2015 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:09:17, beating fellow countryman Yemane Tsegay by 31 seconds. For Desisa, this was an important, emotional victory. He had previously won the 2013 race, but the achievement was darkened by the bombings that took place mere hours after he crossed the finish line. Jack Fleming, spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association, commented about Desisa’s win this year: “Lelisa did not get to have the kind of victory celebration that a champion of the Boston Marathon should have. Lelisa, we want you to get your due today.” Desisa had generously donated his 2013 medal to the city of Boston in memory of the bombing victims, but this year’s medal was his, and rightfully so.
- Froome Attacks the Mountains to Win a Second Tour de France
The 2015 Tour de France was as dramatic and exciting as ever, with 198 cyclists battling each other over the challenging 3,360 km. Chris Froome of Team Sky dominated, finishing in the top two places consistently throughout the stages and went on to grab his second Tour victory (the first was 2013). Summiting Col de la Pierre Saint-Martin at Stage 10 was arguably the most epic moment of the Tour, with Froome launching a solo attack of the 6 km mountain pass and extending his advantage to almost three minutes.
- Hong Kong Marathon Opens New Race for Kids
On January 25, 2015, the Hong Kong Marathon launched its first-ever kids run, the 2.2 km Youth Dash. The hugely popular marathon sells out every year, making this new field big news. A total of 500 slots (first come, first served) were opened to ages 12-15 and it was a big success. Mr. Kwan Kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, said “…the Youth Dash will not only further cultivate their interest in long-distance running, but also give them the opportunity to demonstrate the marathon spirit together with other athletes from around the world.”
- Martins’ Win at Walt Disney World Marathon Is Personal
On January 11, 2015, over 26,700 runners competed in the Walt Disney World Marathon. The elite field is typically dominated by Brazilians and this year was no different. Women’s champion Giovanna Martins finished in 2:50:20 and expressed how emotional the win was for her. She wept with joy at the finish line and explained how this was a dream come true for her. “I’m a teacher of disabled and underprivileged children (in Brazil) who dream about Mickey Mouse and love him as much as I do,” she said.
- Big Sur Half Marathon Sets the Bar for Being Green
Not only one of the most beautiful courses in the world on the scenic California coast, the Big Sur Half Marathon (and its sister event, the Big Sur International Marathon) is renowned for being devoutly eco-conscious. The 2015 half marathon accomplished an incredible total waste diversion of 98.6%. Some top highlights of the final numbers include: 120 pounds of trash; 3,720 pounds of recycling; 3,640 pounds of compostable material; 240 pounds of clothes donated; 135 pounds of wood for re-use; and 859 pounds of food donated.
- Eight-Year-Old Bailey Matthews Finishes Castle Howard Triathlon
The remarkable Bailey Matthews competed in the Castle Howard Triathlon, his first triathlon, in July of this year. Bailey, who has cerebral palsy, showed his strength and spirit on the course as hundreds cheered him on. About 20 m from the finish line, the 8-year-old dropped his walking support and crossed the tape on his own. His accomplishment went viral online and in December, Bailey won the BBC Sport Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, given for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.” Bailey has big ambitions for next year—he plans to compete in all five events in the 2016 Castle Triathlon Series.
- Jesse Thomas Breaks Record with 5-Peat at Wildflower Triathlons
On May 2, 2015, Jesse Thomas set a new record for win streaks at the Wildflower Triathlons with his fifth consecutive win of the half-IRONMAN distance. This put Thomas one win ahead of four-time champs Chris McCormack and Cameron Widoff (also, neither got their wins in succession). Thomas’ overall finish time was 4:10:02, putting him 2:19 ahead of second-place finisher (and good friend) Matt Lieto. Lieto summed it up with this: “You want to win every race you enter, but Jesse is the man at Wildflower.”
What do you think were the most inspirational moments in the endurance event world this year? Comment below!