At Life of Tri,we believe, if you asked triathletes to tell you words associated with triathlon, inevitably Ironman will be mentioned. The brand has grown globally since its origins in 1978 and continues to go from strength to strength. The race was conceived on the Hawaiin island of Oahu from a debate on who were the fittest — swimmers, runners or other athletes. In order to settle this argument it was proposed combining three existing races together, to be completed in succession: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (112 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). John Collins, one of those participating in the debate stated “Whoever finishes first we’ll call the ‘Ironman,’”.
The first race took place in 1978 with just 15 competitors, and the rest they say is history.
Facts about Ironman
Here are 10 facts about Ironman and the Ironman Triathlon World Championship held in Hawaii each year.
- Of the 15 participants (all male) that start the first race, 12 completed the course with Gordon Haller winning in 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds.
- In 1979, Lyn Lemaire became the first female to participate in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. Her 12:55:38 finish placed her fifth overall.
- Prior to 1981, athletes had to provide their own support crew.
- In 1981 the race moved from Oahu to the big island and the town of Kailua-Kona
- The slowest finish time ever recorded at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship was 26:20:00 set by Walt Stack, 73, in 1981.
- In 1982, Ironman first introduced cut-off times for the various segments of the race, and in 1983 the overall cut-off time of 17 hours established.
- The youngest finisher ever was 14-year-old Rodkey Faust from Rathdrum, Idaho, who completed the February 1982 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in 13:36:17.
- The smallest margin of victory ever recorded at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in 29 seconds. The event – February 1982 when Kathleen McCartney passed a stumbling Julie Moss.
- The oldest person to ever set a record in Kona was 75-year-old Jim Ward. His 15:51:46 record for the 75-79 age group set in 1992 still stands.
- Over the years, 88 different countries have been represented at the championship.
Facts and literature from https://www.ironman.com/triathlon-news/articles/2003/04/top-25-ironman-factoids.aspx