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32 Ironman Hawaii highlights

We count down 32 highlights from Ironman Hawaii since its inception in 1978

With its history stretching back almost as far as triathlon itself, Ironman Hawaii has become an institution among athletes. We count down 32 highlights from the race's history

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32. The Ironman is born

US Navy Commander John Collins decides to put an end to a debate about who was the fittest – swimmers, cyclists or runners – by combining Hawaii’s three biggest endurance races. So the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Cycle Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles) became the Hawaiian Ironman.

31. The first Ironman

The Hawaii Ironman triathlon was first staged on 18 February 1978 in Honolulu. A field of 15 athletes started, with 12 crossing the finish line. Each were rewarded with a handmade trophy.

30. Gordon Haller is the first Ironman champion

In this gruelling first year, and at a time without many of the technological enhancements of today, American triathlete Gordon Haller became the first Ironman, with a time of 11:46:58.

29. Lyn Lemaire is the first woman to win the Ironman

In 1979, America’s Lyn Lemaire became the first woman to win the endurance event in a time of 12:55:38. She placed fifth in a field of 15.

28. Wide World of Sports covers the Ironman

US broadcaster ABC brought the Ironman into the living rooms of Americans in 1980. Future champion Dave Scott won, aged 26, with Robin Beck taking the women’s title.

27. The Ironman moves to Kailua-Kona

With Collins transferred to Washington by the US Navy in 1981, Valerie Silk took the race in a new direction, moving it from Honolulu to a quieter location, Kailua-Kona, on Hawaii’s Big Island. John Howard, pictured above, took the title.

Continue reading our 32 Ironman Hawaii highlights 25-21 (2/6)


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