Ironman? How about IRONWOMAN!!!
Here’s a brief history of the Ironman Race. It began during an awards ceremony for a running race in Hawaii, where a debate began about who was the fittest. Was it swimmers, runners or cyclists?? One of the participants Navy Commander John Collins proposed combining three local individual endurance races into one “event” to settle the argument. These events were the Waikiki Swim (2.4 miles), the Around Oahu Bike Race (112 miles), and the Honolulu marathon (26.2 miles). “Whoever finishes first, we’ll call him the iron man.” Handwritten on the first entry form was “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life.” The first race “attracted” 15 participants in 1978. It was the beginning of “extreme” sports, so the race was slow to grow in popularity, and you can imagine why…
Then in 1980 ABC’s wide world of sports covered the race, however only 102 men, and two women decided to subject themselves to this insanity.
In 1982 Julie Moss, a college student entered the race to gain information for her thesis in physiology. Some would have taken the easy route and interviewed a few athletes and taken a few blood samples. She enters the race, works her way up to first place despite being severely dehydrated, and begins to stagger a few hundred yards from the finish line. She stumbles and falls just yards from the finish line, she can’t even stand, and crawls toward the finish line. All of this is caught on camera!! She is passed, but still crawls to the finish. Her determination and courage inspired many, and created the mantra that finishing is a victory. You have got to see this YouTube video!!!! (please be patient for it to load it is worth the wait) http://youtu.be/WxNB_W1QgpM
After Julie, the race exploded in popularity, so much so that within a few years, qualifying races were held for the Hawaii Ironman Race which then became the world championship race. Currently there are 24 Ironman races in the USA and several other countries. To gain an “invitation” to the Hawaii World Championship, one must place first, second or third in their age group in one of the other race locations, or several other qualifying half ironman distance races.
Ironman probably wouldn’t be here today if it were not for Julie, the IRONWOMAN, you go girl… (sorry I couldn’t resist)