Happy Friday and welcome to the Friday 5! The Ironman World Championship takes place this weekend in Kona, Hawaii. If you are a Triathlon nut like me, you are probably very excited to follow some of your favorite athletes on Saturday. In honor of this event, I am sharing 5 fun facts about this epic annual event.
1. The First Ironman Race: After a road race in Oahu in 1978, a few participants got into a discussion about who are the fittest athletes: swimmers, cyclists, or runners? A Navy Commander named John Collins was part of this conversation and he decided to come up with a plan to settle the debate. He proposed combining the 2.4 mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim, the 112 mile Around Oahu Bike Race (that had been done over 2 days), and the Honolulu Marathon into one event. He said that whoever finishes the race first will be called “Ironman”. The race took place that year on February 18th and there were 15 participants, 12 of them finished, and the winner was Gordon Haller with a time of 11:46:58. In 1981, the event was moved to Kona, where it has taken place ever since.
2. The Closest Finish: In 1982, the closest finish was recorded as Kathleen McCartney passes Julie Moss yards before the finish line. Julie Moss, a graduate student at the time, infamously crawled her way to the finish line in an emotional display of sheer grit and determination.
3. The Fastest Finish: The fastest male finish was recorded in 2011 by Craig Alexander who finished in a record 8:03:56. Miranda Carfare holds the female record for the fastest finish that occurred in 2013 when she completed the 140.6 mile event in 8:52:14.
4. The Underpants Run: The much talked about “Underpants Run” was created in 1998 as a form of protest by athletes that were not allowed to go into stores in their Speedos. It is now a long standing tradition and ice breaker for athletes getting ready to participate in the grueling Ironman event. It takes place 2 days before the big race and it is a 1.2 mile run where athletes run in, well, their underpants or some form of them! It serves as a fundraiser for local charities and this event has raised over $270, 000 since it’s inception.
5. Celebrity Finishers: There have been a number of celebrities complete the Ironman World Championship race. Here are a few: Olympic Fast Track Skater Apolo Ohno finished the event in 2014 with a time of 9 hours and 52 minutes, Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay competed in 2013 with a finishing time of 14 hours 4 minutes, former Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward did the event in 2013 with a time of 13 hours and 8 minutes, and Tara Costa from the Biggest Loser competed in 2011 with a time of 13 hours 56 minutes to name just a few.
Will you be following the Ironman World Championships this weekend? Have you or any of your friends ever competed in an Ironman Race? Who do you think is the fittest athlete…swimmers, cyclists or runners?
Have a Great Weekend!