QUINTUPLE IRONMAN TRIATHLON
October 9-13, 1991
In Den Haage (The Hague) Netherlands, the first Quintuple Ironman was held. Having been in The Netherlands during the European Ironman, Ted Epstein had befriended people who wanted to serve as his volunteer crew for this event. In 1987, two of these volunteers had traveled to the U.S. to visit Ted in Denver. Unfortunately, just as Vivian had planned to take them to Colorado Springs for the day, Vivian was told that her father had died. Ina Cherington, a good friend, took them sightseeing instead. When the same volunteers visited again in 1989 to be hosted by Ted and Vivian, Ted’s brother Fred had just died. The volunteers were on their own.
The volunteers were very helpful during the swim and biking events. Then the rains came. During the run, each time Ted circled the race course, he became slower. His thoroughly wet shoes helped to create large blisters on Ted’s feet. He was hypothermic from the cold. The race directors made a decision. They did not want to have bad publicity for this first ever Quintuple Ironman with a dying or dead participant. On the huge blackboard bearing the participants names, they struck a line through Ted’s name and declared him OUT OF THE RACE. Ted refused to quit and continued circling the course. The crying, exhausted volunteers came to Vivian’s hotel room at 2:00 A.M. and asked her help to stop Ted from running. Vivian dressed
and came to the course. She too could not dissuade Ted from running. The volunteers threatened to quit if Ted did not stop. They quit and Ted continued.
Three other people then volunteered to help Ted. At daybreak, still in the pouring rain, Vivian took Ted’s second pair of soggy running shoes to a nearby hotel and asked if she could please use a hair dryer for the shoes. The hotel directed her to a room and Vivian used the hair dryer until the motor overheated.
The race directors re-instated Ted, who they could see was not going to stop. The new volunteers knew that with 30 minutes to go, Ted would not make the time limit for the end of the race unless he added 20 seconds to each lap. With extreme effort, Ted increased his pace, and finally became an official finisher with one minute to spare. Great clapping and shouting erupted.
Daily onlookers watched the race, including a man in a white chef’s apron walking his dog. He had noticed Ted’s exclusion and then inclusion back into the race. After the event, the man approached Vivian and said he had never seen such an example of courage and determination. Henk Savelberg said he was the owner of the finest hotel in Den Haage, Vreugd en Rust, a Relais and Chateau property. He invited Ted and his crew to his hotel for dinner that evening.
A ten course meal was prepared for Ted and his volunteers, served in opulent surroundings. After the soup and salad course, Ted excused himself, stating he would be right back. After fifteen minutes, Vivian asked one of the male crew members to check on Ted in the men’s room. The crew member returned telling all at the table that Ted had fallen asleep in the dressing room and could not be roused. Those left at the table enjoyed a spectacular meal thanks to the generosity of the hotel owner and Ted’s unflagging spirit.
Ted Epstein Jr. Ultra Endurance Athlete Amazing Accomplishments
As an Ultra-Endurance athlete, he had completed three Six-Day races, ran 480 miles across Siberia, climbed the Pikes Peak Ascent eight times, swam around Manhattan Island, swam half way around Hong Kong Island, with another man was the first man to swim across the Bering Strait, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro…
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