triathlon and family can mix

Ironman Tattoo

M. Dot.


It seems like a right of passage. Cross the finish line and straight to the tattoo parlour. The more I see them around the gym, pool, path, or beach these days, I wonder if I would get one.

First, to qualify I am sure you have to finish a long distance Triathlon, all 226.3 kilometers of it. Second, you need to be proud of it. How could you not be? Not many people would attempt it, let alone finish it.

I think there is a stigma around people who have an Ironman tattoo. Some opinions say that ‘are they not proud of anything else than finishing that race x years ago’. I don’t think this is the case; starting, let alone finishing a long distance triathlon is a feat. I think it is a celebration of something that they have worked hard at achieving. Trust me, the amount of training hours that come along with the finish can be staggering. Average 11 hours per week with 3 hour bike rides on Saturday and 2 hours runs on Sunday; not to mention strength training and your real life. This is what I averaged in preparation for Ironman 70.3 Calgary, a half distance triathlon.

So back to my original thought.

Would I ever get a tattoo?

I love this sport and all of the tangible and intangible benefits that have come along with it. I am in the best shape of my life, my energy levels are thru the roof, and my daughter is racing as well. I will talk about it with anyone that asks, and hey, alot of people who don’t (sorry if you have been one of the unwilling listeners in the past). The people I have met including instructors, physiotherapists, and fellow triathletes over the past two years have made a positive impact on my life. Thank you for that.

I just find it hard to want to advertise it to the entire world, all the time. I mean having people check out your tattoo, check you out (elevator look?), then make a judgment based on your current physical condition is something I would like to avoid. “He has an Ironman tattoo, he doesn’t look like he could finish the walk up the stairs!”

I am just saying I don’t think that I would get one. Better to leave the memory where it belongs, in my mind.

Just a thought: Do you need to show proof, like a picture of you crossing the finish line or a secret membership card? I sure hope so.

Question: Would you get an Ironman Tattoo?


11 responses

  1. I will be getting mine the day after, before I pick up my place for kona…I wish!

    I don’t think it is a look a me sort of thing but it is something to be proud of!

    January 24, 2013 at 7:23 am

    • Definitley be proud, especially if it is Kona….

      Good luck in your preparation for IM Wales. Keeps us up-to-date on your experience.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:34 am

  2. I’ve personally never been much into tattoos and don’t currently have any but figured when I do finish my first full I’d really consider it. Not as much for the tattoo but something that will constantly remind me of what’s possible if you put your mind to it. As far as caring what others think – stopped that when I started serious training as most days my hair’s messed up, I smell like chlorine, I’m constantly eating or drinking shakes, or all of the above!

    January 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    • I second your comment about smelling like chlorine. People sometimes ask me what colonge I am wearing, my response, ‘Pool’ by YMCA.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:36 am

  3. Anonymous

    absolutely, Finished my first IM last week. Trained my tail off to do it. Will 100% get the Tattoo, its a right of passage.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm

  4. Ironman is a BRAND, just like Chevrolet or Nabisco. When you think about it that way…it’s weird to get the brand’s logo tattooed on your body. I mean, IM is not paying you for it, right? You’re paying $600 or so to get into the race, then you pay a couple more hundred for the tat?

    I plan to do something more meaningful and less obvious than the m-dot. Something that represents the journey of strength and endurance that it takes to get to the finish. I already have a Pegasus tattoo…perhaps I’ll add onto it!

    November 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  5. Disclaimer: If Ironman were to pay me to get the tattoo and pay for it. I’d do it. No second thoughts. 🙂

    November 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

  6. I would get one, its a reminder of the pain, training and enjoyment when you crossed the finish line – I havent completed one yet but will be next year and will get a Tattoo afterwards. I have only seen 2 in the local area, my Gym and open water lake and they both created a thought of respect in my mind.

    January 16, 2014 at 5:01 am

    • Thanks for the comment. Sometimes you may not want to remember the pain…..

      January 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

  7. I am a 54-year old family man – training for my first Ironman which is IM UK in July. Do I intend to get a tattoo if I cross that finish line in Bolton…..too f*****g right I do.

    April 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm

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