But at mile 10, everything changed. He slowed so much that it seemed he was barely moving at all. He began complaining about the pain. There was anguish in his eyes. “He looked like a zombie,” says his sister, Jacky. “Like he was just absolutely done.”
His supporters huddled around him, doling out hugs, hoping to lift his spirits. Nik Nikic clutched his son, drew him close, and whispered in his ear: “Are you going to let your pain win, or let your dreams win?”
Chris Nikic knew this wasn’t only about finishing an Ironman, but about showing himself what he could achieve in the future. His own home. Independence. A wife as kind and beautiful as his mother.
“My dreams,” he told his father, “are going to win.”
He began to jog again. One step forward. Two. Three. One step. Two. Three.
He found his rhythm. Nothing could stop him. He crossed the finish line with arms held high in celebration, and a little time to spare—16 hours, 46 minutes, and 9 seconds.
“I learned that there are no limits,” he says. “Do not put a lid on me.”