Competitor loses house, bike to fire; Ironman directors rally to help

Bikes await. Sand Hollow Reservoir. Ironman 70.3 St. George, Utah, May 4, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Las Vegas man thought his Ironman dreams would came to an end when his house burned down just last week.

The fire burned everything for William Bonello and his wife on April 21, including the bicycle and other equipment Bonello planned to use when competing in the St. George Ironman 70.3 Saturday. Bonello competed in the 2013 St. George Ironman 70.3 and immediately signed up for 2014 upon his completion of last year’s race.

“I called (the directors of Ironman) and told them I wouldn’t be able to compete this year,” Bonello said. “The directors of Ironman took care of everything, and I had emails flooding of people who wanted to help me.”

The directors of Ironman informed Bonello on Wednesday that they had taken care of everything to make sure he could compete, including providing a bicycle. The bicycle was provided by Ironman Operations Director Tom Ziebart, who serves as the announcer for Ironman events. He said he makes sure to have a spare bicycle at every Ironman event — just in case.

“I was more than happy to let William use my bike for the race,” Ziebart said. “It will be my pleasure to call him across the finish line tomorrow knowing I played a small part in getting him there.”

Bonello tries to live his life in such a way that he’s helpful to others, he said, so being on the other end of it and receiving help has been a humbling experience for him.

“Always be positive,” he said. “Do for others the best you can. It’s rare for me to have to receive it, and it’s really touching. It’s a blessing to be a part of such a helpful community.”

Bonello wanted to thank his coach, Jackie Arcana of XCELL Performance in Las Vegas, as well as Ironman for helping him through a difficult two weeks and making it possible for him to still compete.

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