Parkite Liis Rametta finished eighth at Ironman World Championships |

Parkite Liis Rametta finished eighth at Ironman World Championships

Parkite Liis Rametta, who finished eighth in the women’s 35-39 age group, nears the finish line of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 12 while draped in the Estonia country flag.
Courtesy of Liis Rametta

While Parkite Liis Rametta never considered herself a normal person, she first got into the world of Ironman because of normal people.

“I thought Ironmans were for the crazy and insane, but then I saw other types of people doing it and I thought I could as well,” Rametta said. “To me, regular people doing things that require a lot of effort is inspiring, and I wanted to be part of that. It’s all about the mental strength needed to do these competitions, and it was amazing and inspiring to see others thrive in that regard.”

Instead of wondering whether she could complete an Ironman, despite competing in multiple triathlons and half marathons prior, Rametta went out and actually did it.

After winning the 35-39 age group at her first Ironman in July in Estonia qualified her for the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October, Rametta wasn’t sure what to expect when going against the best the world had to offer.

“It was interesting because although I was definitely satisfied with my training given the circumstances, I knew I didn’t get the right amount of training I needed to truly compete,” Rametta said. “I just didn’t have the right amount of time to not only recover from Estonia in July, but to prepare for Kona in October. But I did the best I could and was as prepared as I possibly could be.”

It turns out Rametta was much more prepared than she originally thought as she finished in eighth place in her age group, missing out on a top-five finish by just three minutes. She finished with a total time of 10 hours, 13 minutes and 45 seconds; 1:15:37 for the 2.4-mile swim, 5:26:12 for the 102-mile bike ride and 3:25:01 for the 26.2-mile run.

“I’m definitely happy with the result, doing a quite a bit better than I originally would’ve thought,” Rametta said. “Honestly, going into it I thought a top-10 in my age group would be fantastic, a top-20 would be really good and that I would come in somewhere after that. It’s really cool to know that I did better than even I predicted, just proves how mentally strong I was able to be.”

That was the biggest difference between Estonia and Hawaii: the mental strength needed to not only compete, but just keep moving at all times.

In Estonia, Rametta could rely on the encouragement of her family and friends in the crowd for strength and momentum, knowing she would be seeing them ate every half-mile of the final run. She would consistently tell herself to keep going until she reached the next group, helping her stay motivated.

That wasn’t the case in Kona, as apart from just her sister making the trip, the running portion was by far the most difficult mentally. Because so much of the marathon was done in the lava fields, she scarcely recalls seeing fans cheering along the route.

“Estonia had spectators everywhere, but that wasn’t what happened in Kona, making that run much more of a mental battle than I originally expected,” Rametta said. “You’re out in the lava fields and it’s easy to just walk because no one would see you do it, so it talk a toll mentally to keep running the whole time. And then the final stretch was into a headwind, making this just as much of a race mentally as it was physically.”

For Rametta, the most physically challenging part came during the swim, where she had zero experience swimming in the ocean prior to the race. She said the swells were “pretty big, make it much more about pure survival than actually swimming for a fast time.”

But none of that stopped Rametta, as she crossed the finish line with a smile on her face before a wave of emotion overtook her.

“It was just really emotional because obviously it was a long day and at the end, you’re tired from competing, happy that it’s over and in pain after what you just did,” Rametta said. “I was definitely afraid going into it, but to then cross the finish line and overcome the fear was amazing. You prove to yourself that were able to conquer it.”

Now that she’s back home and done with Ironman competitions for now, Rametta is facing a much tougher battle: yoga.

“Something super hard for me is yoga, honestly probably harder than competing in the Ironman,” Rametta said. “I never enjoyed it and hate stretching so for the next 3-4 months, it’s yoga once a week. I know it’s going to take a while till where it’s easier and I can actually breathe. … But I’m working for that to happen and can’t wait till I reach that point.”

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