Ironman in Hawaii? Yes! In only a few short months, the streets will be lined with freakish athletes mounted on Trek bicycles and gliding down the highway dripping buckets of sweat.
Super light hat? Check.
Bikini-style skin-tight running gear? Check.
Super squishy lightweight sneakers? Check.
A desire to do the superhuman? Absolutely.
These are Ironmen! The toughest of the tough. The craziest of the crazy.
So what could possibly drive a human to want to race in the Kona sun?
On the mainland, maybe it’s leaves changing color, football on TV, or the start of a new school year that marks the autumn season. But for the people of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, it is the Ironman Triathalon. Each year in October, athletes from all parts of the globe ascend on Hawaii Island to show us what is humanly possible. This is Ironman in Hawaii!
Ironman in Hawaii: 2.4 mile swim (3.86 km) / 112 mile bicycle (180.25 km) / 26.2 (42.2 km) run. Why?
For one day a year; stores close, businesses flip their OPEN sign over, and set their eyes on the Kailua pier. 5000 volunteers, thousands of bottles of water, power bars, sunscreen, and a whole lot of synergy goes into this epic production.
Anytime we get a chance to talk to an Ironman in Hawaii, we ask the obvious question: WHY?
For some, it may be an addiction, a sickness, or in most cases; to prove to themselves that it can be done. Most simply try to finish; to be called an Ironman. Others, like the 21 American sponsored professional athletes, have aspirations of winning, breaking records, or even beating a rival.
To the casual observer, it is a reminder of just how amazing humans can be. That said, here are some of our favorite Ironman tidbits from past races.
Ironman Hawaii: our top 9 tidbits from past races
1. For over 12 years, Paula Newby-Fraser has won 21 of 26 Ironman races.
2. In past years, Sean Astin, aka “Rudy” or “Mikey” from the Goonies made the field. How can you not root for him? Another celebrity, chef Gordon Ramsay, made his return after an Achilles injury sidelined him in 2014.
3. When it comes to Ironman in Hawaii, our international visitors are always aplenty – Australia, Germany, and Great Britain and so many more. With Hawaii’s state flag being waved as well, there will be lots of Union Jacks on race day for sure. The Aussies used to dominate; now it’s the Europeans. Who wins this year?
4. The last American to win the whole thing was Tim DeBoom in 2002.
5. People ranging in age from 19 to 85 having qualified to compete in the World Championship.
6. I’ll have what she’s having: Daniela Ryf’s breakfast smoothie recipe contains lupine protein, lemon oil, sesame seeds, yogurt, and fruit. You can eat like her but there’s all that training that goes with it too.
7. Most athletes carbo-load the day before the race IN THE MORNING. White breads and pastas are not part of a triathlete’s staple diet so they gently work it in heading into race day. On the day of the race, they’re typically eating 3 hours before the race. Nothing like whey protein and applesauce at 3:30 AM!
8. These athletes are salty. Sodium is essential and tablets are carried by all athletes to maintain healthy stamina and reduce cramping. Typically 800 to 4000 milligrams are consumed hourly.
9. The oldest person to ever set a record in Kona was 75-year-old Jim Ward. That record from 1992 still stands.
Congratulations to all of the past participants and good luck to all athletes in this years competition! We are so proud to host you here on the Big Island of Hawaii!