Israel Life Saving Federation volunteers were out in force for Israel's first-ever full Ironman competition in Tiberias on November 25. Some 15 volunteers spent the night in Tiberias in order to wake at 4 a.m., heading out with smiles into the rain before sunrise in order to watch over swimmers from the water at the crack of dawn.
Volunteers took positions through the triangular 1.9 kilometer open-water swim course, which stretched off the coast of Tiberia's Guy beach nearly a kilometer into the waters of Lake Kinneret, watching over the 2,500 athletes participating in both the half and full Ironman events. Participants in the half Ironman swam the course once, while those doing the full competition swam through twice, for a total of 3.8 kilometers. Some 800 athletes flew in from around the world to participate in the first-ever Ironman Middle East Championship in Israel, including about 100 professional athletes.
ILSF volunteers aided 84 athletes facing a range of issues including hypothermia, muscle cramps, exhaustion and anxiety attacks in the challenging waters of Lake Kinneret, amid wind, waves and intermittent rain, and offered friendly and reassuring words in English and Hebrew. The team also conducted another 24 rescues facing safety and/or health risks, evacuating them from the water so they could receive professional assistance.
This is the second year that the ISLF has been an integral part of the Ironman Israel water safety team. ISLF has been volunteering in the water for the Ironman swim portion since the competition first launched in Israel in 2021.