Rich Myhre of the Everett Herald reports that Conner Martin, a 2009 Jackson High School graduate, competed in and finished the 2012 Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon after recovering from his 2011 brain surgery.
The 2012 Ironman Couer d'Alene had over 2,500 competitors. Martin's time was 14 hours, 13 minutes, and 58 seconds which placed him 33rd in the male 18-24 division. There were 12 athletes in this division that didn't finish the race.
Myhre said that Martin was preparing for the 2011 Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon when he started experiencing involuntary muscle spasms and then seisures a few weeks later.
"An outstanding athlete at Mill Creek's Jackson High School, where he won eight varsity letters in four years, Martin was gearing up for the 2011 Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon, a supreme feat of endurance that combines a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. His training was arduous, his body was responding, and he was confident of competing well as race day neared," said Myhre.
"It seemed like nothing -- surely not an unseen medical condition foretold by a tiny facial tic -- could stand in his way."
"The tic became more pronounced and Martin began experiencing other symptoms, including a series of seizures. Hospital tests revealed a cavernous malformation -- in layman's terms, a large cluster of dilated blood vessels -- in his brain that was affecting his nervous system."
"The malformation was initially the size of a pea, so it was decided to treat it with medication. But within two weeks -- and following another severe seizure -- the mass had reached the size of a golf ball. This time there was no option but surgery."
"A few days later -- it was May 27, 2011 -- a surgeon made incisions in Martin's head to peal back the scalp, then opened his skull. The malformation was about an inch below the surface of the brain, so the surgeon inserted special instruments to remove the lesion."
"The operation was successful, but when Martin woke the right side of his body was temporarily paralyzed. 'I couldn't talk, I couldn't walk, I couldn't go to the bathroom on my own, I couldn't do anything,' he said."
Myhre reported that during Martin's rehabilitation he focused on his original goal of competing in the Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon even though his doctors didn't believe he could do it, "Martin became more determined than ever to race at Coeur d'Alene. And although his doctors were dubious and his family cautious, none of that mattered."
Myhre said at the race's finish Martin was emotional, "Yes, there were tears and not just his own. In the finish area he was embraced by his father and brother, all of them crying."
Here are some interesting Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon statistics from Ray Fauteux on ironstuck.com:
- Over 2,500 competitors in the race.
- 1,883 first-time Ironmen in this race. Over half the field is taking on the Ironman for the first time.
- The oldest male in the race is Edwin Wolfgram from St Louis who is a spry 80-year-old.
- The oldest woman is Kathryn Curl from Idaho Falls who is 68-years-old.
The full Everett Herald article can be found here: