2.4 MILE SWIM, 112 MILE BIKE,
26.2 MILE RUN
The water of Kailua, Kona churns
white as the triathletes, bunched together tighter than clothes
in a washer, begin the race.
Corner cheering on Peter Russo from Rumford, RI.
needs to be replaced
Since the first race in 1978,
the Ironman has stirred people of all ages, sexes, creeds and
colors in an endeavor of self-improvement that encompasses every
aspect of life.The sport has changed the way we eat, sleep, work
and play and has offered us the opportunity to expand the quality
of our lives beyond what any of us thought possible.
In terms of history, the 1982
Ironman may be the most significant. Julie Moss leads the race
until she is just feet from the finish, only to collapse. As she
crawls to the tape, Kathleen McCartney passes her and wins the
race, completely unaware of Moss' predicament or her own victory.
ABC records the entire ordeal on film. When Moss' struggle is
aired on Wide World of Sports, thousands around the world
are inspired by her determination.
Julie Moss 15 years
later on her way to a second place age group finish.
It was after a few beers
in 1978 and what some thought were only casual jokes about who
was the better athlete--young men or old men; swimmers, cyclists
or runnes--that John Collins stood before the crowd gathered at
the Primo Brewery following the Around the Island Relay Race in
Honolulu, Hawaii. He posed a "ridiculous" challenge--a
2.4-mile swim off Waikiki Beach, a 112-mile bike ride around Oahu
and a 26.2-mile run through the streets of Honolulu. Smaller swim-bike-run
events had been held in San Diego, California's Mission Beach
area for a couple of years. But it was this bizarre event, more
than anything else, that would draw hundreds of thousands of people
around the world into a almost religious following of the sport
we now affectionately know as "triathlon."
John Collins at the
finish line of this year's Ironman.