Ironman

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noun - Ironman triathlon is (1) a long-distance endurance contest comprising three consecutive events, usually open water swimming, cycling and distance running, or (2) a multi-disciplinary surf lifesaving event.

The sport of Ironman triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bike and a marathon 42.195-kilometer (26.219 mi) run, raced in that order. Most Ironman triathlons have a time limit of 17 hours to complete the race, where the Ironman race starts at 7:00 AM, the mandatory swim cut off for the 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim is 2 hours 20 minutes, the bike cut off time is 5:30 PM, and all finishers must complete their marathon by midnight.

The name Ironman Triathlon refers to both the original Ironman triathlon and the annual Ironman World Championship. Also called Ironman Hawaii, the world championships of the event, held annually in Hawaii since 1978 (with an additional race in 1982), are now preceded by a series of qualifying events. Ironman Triathlon became known for its grueling length, harsh race conditions, and television coverage.

Origin

1970–75; tri- + (dec)athlon

noun - Ironman (surf lifesaving) was developed in 1964 in Australia by Valentine Trainor to combine the four main disciplines of surf lifesaving into a single race: ocean swimming, board paddling, ski paddling and running. The Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Surf Ironman Series and the Ironwoman Series features Australia’s best surf living saving athletes competing in the most grueling ocean-based competition on the planet.

The 2011-2012 series is conducted over six rounds at iconic Australian beaches including Surfers Paradise, Portsea, Perth, Coolum and Noosa Heads. The Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Surf Ironman Series and the Ironwoman Series features 21 athletes and the Ironwoman Series will feature 20. All six races will feature popular formats that test endurance, power, skill and speed and be broadcast nationally on Network Ten.

Perhaps the most famous ironman was Grant Kenny, who in 1980 at the age of 16 made the event famous by winning the Australian Junior and Australian Open Ironman championships within the space of half an hour. Kenny became a national hero, appearing on cereal boxes and television advertisements, and was seen as the pinnacle of Aussie sportsmen. The short Ironman event became famous and the center of attention at all surf carnivals.

In the early 1980s a movie was made called "The Coolangatta Gold", about an ironman event that required competitors to complete a 42 km course along Queensland's Gold Coast. A circuit was then developed that mixed 10-minute Ironman races with the Coolangatta Gold, and a range of other professional Ironman events around Australia. The Coolangatta Gold was resurrected in 2005. The format of the 2006 race was as follows:

LegDisciplineRouteDistance
1 SkiSurfers Paradise to Greenmount SLSC 23.km
2 RunGreenmount SLSC to Coolangatta SLSC0.65km
3 Swim Coolangatta SLSC to Bilinga SLSC3.50km
4 Run Bilinga SLSC to Currumbin SLSC 4.00km
5Board Currumbin SLSC to Burleigh Heads SLSC 5.50km
6RunBurleigh Heads SLSC to Surfers Paradise10.00km
Total 46.65km

In 1989 an elite group of Ironmen took the sport one step further and created the event for television. The event was named the Uncle Toby's Super Series and became one of the highlights of the Australian summer sports calendar. It is now replaced by the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series.

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