Daniel Allemond – Stories from the Finish Line

September 18, 2015 is a day that Daniel Allemond will never forget. This was not a date where he finished a race or other monumental life goal, but rather the date that left a giant, scary question mark on his future.

Before this date, Daniel, like so many endurance athletes, had found triathlon. Swim, bike, and run sparked something in him for the first time. He felt alive in a new way. He had started with a 5k, then a marathon, and moved on to tri-after feeling that itch for something more. So he jumped into the sport with both feet, joining a race team, getting a coach, and buying the equipment to head out on his new journey.

He was strong as he trained for IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta. But after some time, he inexplicably found himself walking during a run - something he never did. But lately, he seemed to be trying to catch his breath on every workout and even on easy tasks around the house. Recovery in-between workouts was much longer than usual. His coach suggested he might be overtraining and ordered some extra recovery and rest.

But Daniel's wife, Maggie, a nurse practitioner, knew something was wrong. She urged him to see a doctor. Most tests returned normal, but blood work showed some abnormalities. They were referred to a Hematologist.

On September 18, Daniel received a blood transfusion due to a bone marrow biopsy. Then and there, he heard unfathomable words. Words that a 29-year-old, healthy endurance athlete could never have imagined.

"Daniel, you have cancer. It's Leukemia." His first question: "Do I have a chance to survive this?" His second question: "Can I still do my 70.3?"

Daniel loved to race triathlons, but the new race of Daniel's life was about to truly begin. The starting cannon went off. He was poised and ready. Over one hundred chemo infusions, twenty-one spinal taps, eight bone marrow biopsies, countless medications, and thirty-five nights spent in the hospital - his most significant race was over. He had done the best he could do. All he could do now was wait for the results, the roll down, the what's next.

After this fight-for-life journey, he saw his glowing finish line: a bright light of "cancer free."

In the following year, Daniel not only completed IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta, but also the full IRONMAN Florida.

We know that life likes to throw a nasty curveball sometimes.

Daniel's Leukemia made a return visit. He failed aggressive chemotherapy this time, and learned that his best chance of survival was stem cell transplant from his father. His father agreed, and a new, more pressing race for life and health was underway.

Maggie posted homemade signs all over their house, constant reminders of mantras and hope that Daniel needed. Their favorite: THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR THE WEAK. And Daniel proved it. He did it. He found himself back in the game of life, cancer free. Again.

In 2022, Daniel ran across the finish line at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona with Maggie and his new son, William, watching.

That was a glorious day, one of the best ever.

But, even in all its magical glory, Kona was only the second-best finish of his life.