2015 SISU Iron Essay Contest Winners

For this year's SISU Iron, all entrants were asked to write an essay 200 words or less, about why they wanted to do the event.  The essays had to be in English, and they could contain no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.  The essays were judged by SISU Staff member, Steffen "Cookie" Cook.  12 winners were chosen.  Their entries have been posted below.  These winners will enjoy "special priveleges" in the beginning of the SISU Iron event.


“I am doing the SISU Iron to make more incredible memories on my journey.”

Amber Lukes


“I want the SISU Iron to break me down, make me cry and make it my story of the year while in the presence of friends and acquaintances, old and new. I'm looking forward to learning new skills during the journey and surviving the full length of the event. Maybe learn how to write these things better.”

Tammy Nguyen


“I am the most fortunate person I know because I am not afraid to fail and I never give up.  Born curious, my need to experience life has taken me over magnificent mountains and through some dark swamps. This exploration requirement has forced me to find my own path through life. It is a curse that brings pain, failure and humility to myself, while simultaneously providing loved ones with their own dose of shared embarrassment. Ironically, this is also where I find glimpses of human greatness, kindness, compassion, and the deepest respect. It is within these glimpses, experienced during my greatest struggles that make it all worthwhile.

My life will not be mediocre. My life is about getting to the edge of my known world, staring into that abyss and jumping in. I hold full awareness of the probability of failure, and at the very least, never returning to the world I just left behind as the same person. It is here, in this abyss that I am fully engaged, fully committed, and truly myself.

My human experience will never be surrendered to a mundane existence.”

Dana Brown


“Both the words Sisu and Iron evoke the ideal of facing one’s demons and overcoming one’s weaknesses with strength, determination and perseverance no matter what challenges stand in our way. This idea of finding your limits, breaking them, and somehow emerging the stronger for it compels me to take on the challenge that is the SISU IRON. 

This is especially true for me this year since my physical and emotional well-being were severely tested recently, when my whole left side went numb in the middle of the night. Many tests later, and an uncertain diagnosis, I let my mind go to a place of fear and uncertainty. I didn’t want to train; I didn’t want to sign up for events; I was effectively paralyzed, incapable to be the best me.

I am not the kind of person who can stay in that type of negative space.  I always strive to be positive, to be strong, to choose to take on the adventure or challenge even when afraid.  The choice then is to stand up, look around and decide:  What is important to me?  What next?   

The answer: the SISU IRON.”

Ann Plourde


Deidra Brauns


“To race in the IRON

Is to seek parts of the soul

Found only through pain.”

A Haiku by Andé Wegner


“Last year, I was ill for six months. Over the months, it wore me down to a physical and emotional state of exhaustion and helplessness. The super active person I am could not even go for a walk without ending up in bed for the rest of the day. There were some days I would just be sitting on the floor crying from the fatigue and duress. When you have nothing else to give and you are broken down to nothing, is when you find what you are really made of. Life is full of trials and tribulations, some we willingly venture into and others occur whether we are ready or not.  Getting sick was not something I was ready for, but I endured it and came out the other end stronger.  The IRON is yet another challenge that has come across my path for a reason and I willingly accept the challenge; from adversity comes growth and strength.”

Jill Izzo


“I don’t have a tale of overcoming adversity against all odds.  There is no story of my personal tragedy to inspire others into action.

I have decided to add the SISU IRON to my experiences because it is outside the boundaries of normalcy. It is…abnormal: 


adjective \(ˌ)ab-ˈnȯr-məl, əb-\

: different from what is normal or average : unusual especially in a way that causes problems

The potential for failure in pursuit of something that is far beyond the scope of the masses is far more appealing than participation in activities with guaranteed success. I would rather leave empty handed and physically demolished, knowing that what I attempted was beyond what most would even consider, than walk away unscathed with a participation medal and a photo for Facebook.

I prefer the abnormal to the pedestrian. I thrive among the the esoteric. This is why I am doing the SISU IRON.”

Hillery Francis


“I wanted an excuse to buy an axe. Problem solved.”

Scott Weir


“Less than one year ago during a twelve hour endurance event, I was near the point of failure. Someone I was paired up with mustered the strength to help me finish. That person was a member of Team SISU. When that person extended an invite to join them in the Iron, I was both intrigued and highly gratified. It will be great to see the team as a whole test themselves and measure my performance against the odds once again.”

Michael Savosky


“‘Inspire those who motivate you.’ I am a CornFed Spartan and I live for the challenge. I want to show people that you don't have to be an elite athlete to be unbreakable. I have to work twice as hard to accomplish half as much. Weight loss has taught me a lot about believing in myself.  ‘The only thing stopping you is you.’ So why you ask? Because I can!”

Herb Farver


“To get Daren off my back about doing it.”

Peter St. John

Posted On: 03/12/2015

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