ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

History of Ironman Triathlon

Updated on February 17, 2016
Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie is a seasoned marathoner, triathlete and soccer player with an interest in fitness and nutrition.

If someone said to you, “Hey, I dare you to swim 2.4 miles, ride a bike for 112 miles, and run a marathon. If you finish in under 17 hours, I’ll call you Ironman,” would you do it? No? Okay, okay. “I’ll throw in a spiffy medal and a fancy array of post race snacks after you cross the finish line.” Still no? “How about if I line the race route with enthusiastic, if less physically capable fans, each of whom will cheer and hold up encouraging signs, urging you on until you reach the finish? Hmmm. Okay, here’s my final offer. You get all of that great stuff, plus, you’ll have bragging rights for the rest of your life!”

Now I have your attention. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Proving to yourself and the world that you are made of the toughest brand of human steel? Challenging yourself to endure the what is probably the most painful, grueling ordeal the human body can withstand?

Mass start of the swim in Kona
Mass start of the swim in Kona
John and Judy Collins
John and Judy Collins

How the Ironman Began

The first Ironman was conceived on a lark by US Naval Officer, John Collins. He and a group of friends were debating the issue of which athletes were tougher, swimmers or runners. Collins had already participated in smaller triathlons, so the concept of such a race was not new, however a race of this magnitude was unheard of. Determined to test the best swimmers, cyclists and runners to a contest of endurance, Collins proposed the first Ironman contest. The 112 mile bike race was proposed after Collins read an article about a Belgian cycling champ who had the highest VO2 max rate ever recorded in an athlete. This lead Collins to assert that cyclists may have been the fittest athletes on the planet.

The inaugural race took place on February 18, 1978 in Waikiki. Before the swimmers took to the water, Collins was quoted as saying, “You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know for the rest of your life.” No pressure or anything.

A Grueling Experience

Today there are dozens of races all over the world, integrating professional athletes and age groupers, each bent on posting a PR in the world’s most challenging contest. Professional athletes compete for large purses but every athlete must face potentially harsh conditions. In fact, the race is Kona, Hawaii is one of the windiest races around, while other sites like Malaysia and Cozumel are routinely plagued by high heat indexes. In fact, my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, which is home to Ironman Wisconsin is ranked the third toughest race in the world due to a hilly course, fluctuating temperatures, wind, rain and other factors.

Finish Line: Ironman Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Finish Line: Ironman Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Three Stages of Ironman

Races typically begin at 7:00 am and few things aside from lightning or thunder will delay the start. Age groupers start the race en mass several minutes after the professional wave has taken off. The first leg of the race is a 2.4 mile swim which much be completed in 2 hours and 2 minutes. After stripping their wetsuits they complete the first transition (T1) by hopping on their bikes and trekking across a 112 mile course. The cycle leg must be completed within 8.5 hours. Those that haven’t entered T2 by 5:30 pm are disqualified. Those strong (or lucky) enough to make it to the marathon stage must complete an exhaustive 26.2 mile foot race before midnight to earn the title of Ironman.

112 Mile Cycle
112 Mile Cycle

Paula Newby Frazer

It may seem inconceivable that anyone who has suffered through one Ironman would willingly do it again, but many do. In fact, the most successful female Ironman of all time, Paula Newby-Fraser, carries the nickname, Queen of Kona. She won Ironman Hawaii 8 times and holds a total of 24 Ironman titles.

Paula Newby Fraser
Paula Newby Fraser

Fastest Ironman Times

Record Holder
Swim (2.4 Miles)
Bike (112 Miles)
Run (26.2 Miles)
Overall
MEN
Andreas Raefert (GER) - 44:25
Andrew Starykowicz (USA) - 4:02:17
Peter Reid (CAN) - 2:35:21
Andreas Raelert (GER) - 7:41:33
WOMEN
Angela Naeth (CAN) - 45:11
Chrissie Wellington (UK) - 4:36:33
Chrissie Wellington (UK) - 2:44:35
Chrissie Wellington (UK) - 8:18:13
 
 
 
 
 

Who is your favorite triathlete?

See results

Dick and Rick Hoyt

Not only does the Ironman contest give professionals and weekend warriors alike the chance to test their grit and strength, but it also gives special heroes a chance to shine. Consider the ultimate love story between a father and son, Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick was born with cerebral palsy and has suffered from spastic quadriplegia for many years. Determined to give his son a rich life, full of adventure, Dick has performed incredible feats of human strength in the name of love.

A Fathers Love: True Test of Endurance

Rate this Hub

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of History of Ironman

© 2015 Jaynie2000

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)