The 36th Ironman World Championship

Tomorrow, the 36th annual Ironman World Championships will take place here in the big island of Kona, Hawaii.

The big show of triathlon, held every October is a spectacular event to witness, whether you’re a volunteer, an athlete or a spectator.

A little history…

The inaugural “Hawaiian IRON MAN” Triathlon was conceptualized in 1977 as a way to challenge athletes who had seen success at endurance swim, running and biathlon events. Honolulu-based Navy couple Judy and John Collins proposed combining the three toughest endurance races in Hawai’i—the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon—into one event.

The original race, held on February 18, 1978 had a mere 15 people in Waikiki to take on the IRONMAN challenge.

In 1981, the race moved  to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Along the Kona Coast, black lava rock dominates the panorama, and athletes battle the “ho’omumuku” crosswinds of 45 mph, 95 degree temperatures and a scorching sun1.

Now, decades later, what was once a small gathering of 15 athletes challenging one another’s prowess has become a highly coveted, life changing event.

It’s one which blurs the line between sport and everything else in one’s life; home, work and family, as the demands for what we do can easily supersede other obligations and commitments.

And it’s also one which may be seen by some as something they’d like to do, but feel they cannot, for one reason and perhaps by others as a crazy, unnatural thing to put one’s body through, both during the training as well as the race itself.

I’ve addressed the former a bit earlier this week with posts on being able to accomplish whatever it is you set your mind to, which falls right in line with the Ironman mantra of ‘anything is possible’ itself, so let’s focus on the latter.

Is it unnatural to put your body through the rigors of training for an ironman? Is it abnormal?

I suppose that depends on what your idea of normal is.

The norm, the average, is something like this:

  • Five hours of TV watching per day in the US2.
  • The average American woman now weighs as much as the average 1960s man3.
  • The average American eats three pounds of sugar per week4.
  • More than half the average veggie intake comes from potatoes and tomatoes (sorry, that’s not a veggie), whereas only 10 percent comes from dark green veggies like spinach5.
  • More than the average, 70 percent, of Americans take prescription drugs6 for one condition or another.

And those are only a handful of average stats!  So, if that’s normal, I’d rather not be a part, thank you very much.

Whether or not you’re someone who’s been a fan of watching the race in person, or from the live stream, or perhaps someone who’s never heard of it or found it interesting, I’d highly encourage you to check it out.

From the challenged athletes completing the distance despite physical boundaries they’ve had to overcome, to athletes of a certain age who didn’t let the ‘norms’ stand in their way, to the many people who represent so many countries from all walks of life, all share one thing in common: they believed that they could do something incredible and tomorrow, your support, good energy and positive race vibes can all be a part of the beautiful fabric of the very essence of what the sport is all about.

Follow live tomorrow; the gun goes off at 7 am Hawaii time!


[1]”IRONMAN World Championship.” N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015

[2] “Average American Watches 5 Hours of TV per Day.” NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.

[3] “The Average American Woman Now Weighs as Much as the Average 1960s Man.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015

[4] “How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015

[5] The Vegetables Most Americans Eat Are Drowning In Salt And Fat.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015

[6] Study Shows 70 Percent of Americans Take Prescription Drugs.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015