Utah mother gets a second chance at Ironman World Championship

Jun 9, 2022, 9:45 AM | Updated: 11:04 am

SYRACUSE, Utah — A Syracuse woman who was wrongly pulled before crossing the finish line at the St. George Ironman World Championship Race will get a second chance.

Mette Harrison is a decorated racer with 198 medals and has completed seven Ironmans.

She signed up for her first Ironman nine days after unexpectedly losing her youngest child.

And on May 7, Harrison raced in the St. George Ironman.

She had registered before Kona, Hawaii, handed the world championship torch to St. George due to Covid restrictions in Hawaii.

“It’s a bucket list item,” Harrison said. “I was thrilled to get this elite opportunity.”

The crowds were double during this May Ironman.

St. George Ironman May 7, 2022. (Marc Weaver/KSL TV)

“There were 4,000 athletes. We usually race with 2,000. So officials kept delaying start times, and in the end, their math was wrong. Race officials stopped racers at mile 20 when they thought it was mile 17.9.” Harrison said.

About 15 hours in, a race official mistakenly pulled Harrison for missing the cutoff time. Sixty other women were incorrectly pulled off the course, put into vans and taken to the parking lot.

“At mile 100, you have to start up Snow Canyon, which is the hardest hill during the entire race. I was definitely feeling tired, and there were 40 mph winds and extreme heat — but I knew I could do it. Except then they said I couldn’t,” Harrison said.

The mother of six said she was incredibly disappointed. She went home sunburned and empty-handed.

Weeks later, she received a phone call from Ironman officials. They recognized the mistake and offered to pay for Harrison’s race entry fee to another world championship in the next two years.

“I didn’t think there was anything they could do to correct this — but they did! I don’t have the money to make it to Hawaii, but it’s such a golden chance, I plan to put it on my credit card,” Harrison said.

She has her sights set on Oct. 6 in Kona, where she plans to complete this dream.

Friends convinced her to share her story via GoFundMe. The recently divorced mother said she has been so touched by every penny given to her.

“Three bucks here, two bucks there, I am so grateful for the generosity of others. I just feel like George Bailey from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ where the angel says a man who has friends is never poor. It’s expensive to stay in Hawaii, but this dream will most likely complete my Ironman career, so I have to go,” Harrison said.

Those interested in helping Harrison get to Kona can contribute here.*

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Utah mother gets a second chance at Ironman World Championship