Iron Man is a triathlon consisting of swimming, cycling, and running. The official event is held annually in Hawaii, with other events held worldwide. Athletes must qualify for the main event through national or international locations or a lottery. The competition began in 1978 and has grown significantly, with over 1,500 competitors annually. Over 3,000 hopefuls enter the lottery every year, but only a limited number of slots are available.
An Iron Man race is a triathlon, an athletic event that challenges competitors to complete three legs of a race: swimming, cycling, and running. While the term “iron man competition” can be used to describe any triathlon, especially those involving certain distances for each stage, the official Ironman is a series of recorded events. The main event is held annually in Kailua Kona, Hawaii where competitors must complete a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim across Kailua Kona Bay, then a 112-mile (180.2 km) bike ride from Keauhou to Hawi and back again before traveling 26.2 km along the coast from Keauhou to Keahole Point and on to Kailua Kona. Other Ironman triathlons are held in other locations around the world.
To compete in the main Ironman event, an athlete must earn one of the slots available at a number of national or international locations. Some locations hosting qualifying events include Japan, South Africa, the Canary Islands, Europe and the United States. Each location has a different number of slots available, and how they are won differs from location to location. Some slots are also made available through a lottery drawing.
The Ironman competition was first held in 1978 and has been going on ever since. It arose out of a debate among athletes about which were the fittest: swimmers, cyclists or runners. While the competition has been held annually, it has been moved to October each year instead of February when it originally took place. The transition period was in 1982 and as a result, there were two competitions that year.
From its humble beginnings, this competition has grown dramatically. In fact, the first competition only hosted eleven contestants. The following year, approximately 50 competitors filed for a chance to win the prestigious Iron Man title. However, only fifteen of these athletes actually competed, as the competition was postponed due to inclement weather. Today, Iron Man events see over 1,500 competitors a year.
The number of iron man competitors would be even greater if they didn’t have to go through the rigorous qualifying event first. In fact, more than 3,000 hopefuls enter the lottery every year in hopes of finding a slot. However, only 150 points are awarded through the lottery to US citizens and 50 are awarded internationally.