Ever wonder how things get started? For example, who in their right mind would start the competition that today we call the Ironman Triathlon?
To tell the tale we have to go back to 1978.
At an awards ceremony for a Hawaii running race, a debate started among the competitors about who was more fit — swimmers, runners or other athletes.
One of the participants, Navy Commander John Collins and his wife Judy, dreamed up a race to settle the argument. They proposed combining three existing races together and complete them in succession: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (112 miles, originally a two-day event) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles).
“Whoever finishes first we’ll call the Ironman,” said Collins. Fifteen men participated in the initial event held on February 18; 12 complete the race, led by the first Ironman, Gordon Haller. His winning time: 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds.
That’s a lot of work to settle a disagreement!