Company Founder Part of World’s Largest Massage Team With Members to Provide Onsite Massages During Ironman
ISTA, CA, Oct 09, 2008 — EarthLite (www.earthlite.com), the world’s largest manufacturer of massage and spa treatment tables, will provide portable massage tables and will donate massages at this year’s 30th anniversary of the Ford Ironman World Championship scheduled for October 11, 2008 in Kona, HI. To date EarthLite has provided up to 1,800 portable massage tables and contributed to the 20,000 total recovery massages given by the world’s largest massage team during their 19 consecutive years of service.
“You are both exhausted and full of energy, thrilled with accomplishment yet drained both physically and mentally as you finally cross that finish line,” remarked Diane Nobel, a 2006 – 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship participant. “The post-race recovery massages, made possible through the generous vendor donations and the hundreds of massage team volunteers, help immeasurably in the trek to recovery.”
Tomas Nani, founder of EarthLite, was approached in 1989 by the late Robert Calvert from MASSAGE Magazine, and Peter and Lynn Wind, founders of The Hawaiian School of Massage, who were heading up a post-race massage recovery effort to support the athletes immediately upon completion of the Ford Ironman World Championship. The initial request was to provide a few portable massage tables — EarthLite supplied ten new ones. A considerable feat for a relatively new company which had been in business for just a few years. The post-massage effort was an overwhelming success, and proved to be a pivotal moment for Nani.
“Volunteers were advised to provide their own massage tables or they would have to give massages on mats on the beach,” said Nani. “After witnessing firsthand the grit, incredible determination and pure can-do attitude exuded by these world class athletes, as well as the selfless dedication of the volunteer massage team, I felt they both deserved better.”
Now, 19 years later the recovery effort is an anticipated and welcome sight to athletes crossing the finish line in the Ironman’s pinnacle event of endurance, strength, determination and physical fitness with close to 1000 participants taking part.
Peter Wind is the key coordinator responsible for assembling the world’s largest massage team and coordinates teams that ranges anywhere from 100 to up to 300 volunteers for any given Ironman event. Wind recalls the initial plea to a number of massage table manufacturers to provide tables for this post-race massage effort.
“We learned all portable massage tables are not created equally. Most tables received from other vendors were lacking in quality and not packaged to impress straight out of the box,” relates Wind. “Worse yet, some sent rejects or scraps to support our initial efforts,” Wind continued. “EarthLite products proved to be of exceptional quality … opening a box from EarthLite was like receiving a present. The experience is incredible and the quality of the products exceptional. They remain our vendor of choice.”
Participants in the Ford Ironman World Championship are either incredibly lucky or an exceptional athlete — or more likely — both. Tens of thousands try to qualify for the coveted 1,800 spots reserved for creme de la creme in the triathlon world. The race is the crown jewel of all the Ironman events with a grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and finishing with a 26.2 mile run. The sheer requirements of the race alone are impressive in the best of conditions, but the hosting city of Kona, HI presents environmental obstacles (weather and terrain) that can transcend the challenges presented in the actual physical portions of the race.
“We’ve seen participants swim against a current that actually was pulling them backwards, or winds on the highway blow the bikers completely off the road,” said Wind. “We’ve had runners in the recovery area that almost glow from sun and heat exposure. We’ve seen it all in the massage recovery effort and are glad to be able to help.”
Ironman athletes are greeted by two catchers (escorts) as they cross the finish line. Catchers both assess and assist athletes as they receive their medals, engage in initial cool down activities and then, if desired, are escorted to the recovery massage tent to receive a 10-15 minute full body massage. This critical massage time gives athletes the opportunity to start to decompress not only physically from this grueling and demanding event, but also mentally where emotions range from elation to disappointment. The massages are not only instrumental in assisting in an athlete’s overall post-race recovery, but also help transition athletes to resume their alter ego of mother, teacher, banker, lawyer, trainer, student, etc. The first recipients start arriving around 2:30 p.m. while the rest continue to flow in, some as late as 1:30 a.m. the following morning. The entire volunteer effort is almost 20 straight hours from set-up to tear-down.
The Ford Ironman World Championship is just one of many events where EarthLite contributes to community. More recently EarthLite donated tables for the Chinese Earthquake relief effort, tables and massages for the Chinese Ironman in April, as well as numerous donations both in products and funds to a number of organizations to help better their community and the environment.
EarthLite is headquartered in Vista, California with operations on three continents. EarthLite and its affiliates are one of the oldest and largest spa and massage table manufacturer in the world. EarthLite maintains an unwavering commitment to making exceptional quality products with eco-friendly materials and processes.