The Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.
August 5, 2003 12:03 PM Subscribe
The World Triathlon Corporation ("WTC") runs the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. Most people have heard of the 2.4 mile swimming, 112 mile biking and 26.2 mile running race in Kona, Hawaii. It's the best-known and most prestigious race in the sport of the triathlon (although no longer the most lucrative). Legend has it that the event was born in 1978 when some buddies in Hawaii, led by former Navy captain John Collins, were debating which was the toughest sporting event in Hawaii: the 2.4-mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim, the 112-mile bike race around Oahu, or the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon. After more than a few beers, the legend goes, the small group decided to attempt all three distances in one day, and the Ironman was born. Today, the Ironman ("IM") is a trademarked event replicated annually almost 20 times all over the world by the WTC. These (and a few 1/2 IM races) function as qualifying races for Hawaii, which now serves as the World Championship. Basically, each of these events is allotted a number of qualifying slots per age group and you have to win a spot for Kona. The non-pros that they show on TV are generally the result of 200 lottery slots or special invitation (celebrity, good tv story, etc). Athletes are lining up to get into IM races in the US. Currently, there are 4 IM trademarked races in the US: Ironman USA in Lake Placid, Ironman Wisconsin in Madison, Ironman Coeur d'Alene in Idaho and Ironman Florida in Panama City. What you may not know is that to participate in one of these you routinely have to register and pay the $400+ fee almost one year in advance. Registration for the 2003 races closed within a week or two of the completion of the 2002 races. Just recently, registration for the 2004 Ironman USA -- 2003 was held last weekend -- closed in two days, so you're already too late for next year. And who are these entrants? According to USAT demographics, over 41% of triathletes (USAT members) earn more than $80,000 per year, 40% have college degrees and 48% have graduate/post-graduate degrees. Perhaps reflective of the demographics, CEO's (of corporations with a minimum $1 Million in annual gross revenue) now have their own racing category. The WTC may own the name "Ironman" but I have my eye on a non-WTC, "iron distance" event this year: Duke. You can still register for this one. Here is a 13-week Ironman training schedule for a 12-14 hour finishing time.
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