A brief history of the Ironman Championship

A brief history of the Ironman Championship


The 2020 Ironman championship is to be held on October 10. The championship is held annually in Hawai and athletes from more than 60 countries participate in the Triathlon race. It’s considered one of the hardest one-day sporting event in the world. Since 1997, the WTC has been conducting contests for disabled athletes. The Ironman though doesn’t receive its deserved share of publicity in the media but is second to no one.

The inception:

The basic idea of the Championship came from a couple who moved to Hawaii from California. Judy and John Collins had earlier participated in the Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego on 25 September 1974. In 1977, they organized a sprint run-swim competition and the seed gave birth to the triathlon. They simply called the winner “Ironman”. In October of 1977, they announced their around the Island triathlon Waikiki Swim Club banquet and on February 18, 1978, the first championship was held. The worldwide recognition came in 1980 when the events were televised bring worldwide recognition to the event that once swimmers laughed about.


The history of the championship dates back to 1978. This was the initial period of the Ironman and the first games were also held in Oahu. The three events were held in the period stretching from 1978- 1980. These included the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 mi./3.86 km), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 mi./185.07 km, originally a two-day event), and the Honolulu Marathon. However, in 1981 the race was moved to bigger Island among the Hawaiian Islands.

The race:

The race:

In 1982, the Ironman races were two, but since 1982, the races have been held in the fall of the year, ceasing the spring fashion of the race. Like other championships, you have to qualify for the tournament, and there it has its way. It’s achieved through placements in the Ironman races or Ironman 70.3 races. However, there was a lottery program but it was scrapped in 2015.

Physically challenged category:

When the Championship first started, it lacked various things. It wasn’t like the Olympics and it didn’t have a place for the players with disabilities. But as the Championship grew, new and improved modifications came into place. In 1997, Athletes with disabilities could compete in the physically challenged category for the first time. This was an improvement in terms of the promotions and credibility of the games. The cut-off is put the same as of the abled bodies.

Course record:

Championships are all about records and Ironman has its own. Its current male course record champion is Jan Frodeno. Jan hails from Germany and has a winning time of 7 hrs 51 min 13 sec in 2019. In the category of women, Daniela Ryf has the title. Daniela is from Switzerland who set the course record in 2018 at 8 hrs, 26 mins and 18 sec.

First winner:

Gordon Haller

Gordon Haller became the first to win the Ironman Triathlon. Gordon hailed from the United States His finishing time was 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds in 1978. However, in 1979 he came second.


This year’s Ironman Championship will be held in October in the Hawaiin Island. Earlier the games were held on a smaller island but with the developments and wider acceptance of the games, it moved to a bigger island. Athletes from 64 countries will be participating in the world’s hardest sporting event with larger female participants. However, the triathlon has huge male participation, but an increasing number of female participants is growing. It’s no doubt that this year’s games will not just bring more attention to the games but allow the participants to have an enhanced experience.

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